TIGER TROUBLE!

A fanciful and cheerily outlandish tale about a boy and his . . . cat. Young Jack lives with his tiger, Lily, in a fine apartment building, and Lily, like Mary’s little lamb, follows Jack everywhere, doing what he does. But then Mr. Mildew Mud buys the apartment building and moves in upstairs with his dog Fifi. Mud hates cats, and so does Fifi. He banishes Lily by morning, but that night Lily trounces a burglar about to make off with all of Mr. Mud’s favorite things (including Fifi). Lily’s a hero, and gets a 100-year lease. The illustrations are set in a 19th-century Gotham where the men sport large mustaches, the kitchens are tiled, and the kids wear caps. Much of the humor comes from the wonderful pictures: Fifi is quite a sullen-looking bulldog; Lily is a sleek and full-sized tiger but usually behaves like a person; Mr. Mud wears his black, silk, top hat even with his purple dressing gown. Goode’s (Cinderella: The Dog and Her Little Glass Slipper, 2000, etc.) palette seems especially vivid for this romp, the blues are bluer, the tiger’s golden coat a standout against the deep lavenders and greens worn by the other characters. Rollicking good fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20866-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2001

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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