Lots of sight words, full-color cartoon illustrations, easy-to-read speech bubbles, humor, and lots of likable characters...

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BUCK'S TOOTH

Buck is a beaver with just one front tooth—but it’s a big one!

Though Buck is an adorable beaver with a loving family and lots of talented friends, he is distracted and frustrated by his tooth. It gets in the way, making it hard for him to do just about anything. It’s talent-show time in Beaverton, and Buck and his buddies are finally old enough to compete in the big show. But what will Buck do? He has no idea. The only person in his family who looks like Buck is his uncle Henry, a sculptor who uses his one tooth to great advantage. Everyone thinks that Buck should follow in his footsteps, but Buck wants to find his own way. Things get really interesting when Buck decides to pull his tooth out, leading to squeamish scenes with a doorknob and a pile of unshelled walnuts. When Buck surrenders to his true talent, he finds happiness, too. Buck’s situation is just silly enough for young readers, who worry about teeth and just about everything else, to laugh at, raising this above the many other books about self-acceptance that populate the shelves.

Lots of sight words, full-color cartoon illustrations, easy-to-read speech bubbles, humor, and lots of likable characters add up to a surefire hit for new readers. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2382-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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