Not ducky.

READ REVIEW

CLICK, CLACK, QUACK TO SCHOOL!

From the Click Clack Book series

“On Monday, Duck brought a letter to Farmer Brown. Some of it was written in crayon.”

The crayoned interpolation to the typewritten invitation to visit Dinkelmeyer Elementary School reads: “Bring the animals, too!” Farmer Brown tells the cows to get ready, setting off much stomping and mooing; killjoy Farmer Brown then tells them that “school is very quiet,” which lessens their excitement. Similarly, after getting the chickens excited, Farmer Brown tells them that “school is very serious,” and he tells the pigs that “school is very calm.” When he finds Duck, the fowl is meditating on a yoga pillow; he is told “not to be so Duck-y.” It’s a solemn bunch that pulls up at school—but when the schoolyard fills with boisterous youngsters, the animals loosen right up, mooing and stomping, clucking and clapping, oinking and hollering. Duck, of course is “just Duck-y,” installing himself at the principal’s desk. This latest entry in the venerable series offers a few chuckles and opportunities for children to moo, cluck, and oink, but the delicious overturning of expectations earlier entries have provided here feels just as flat as the animals’ emotions. Readers new to the series won’t know why Duck shouldn’t be “Duck-y,” making that extended joke one for insiders only. Farmer Brown is white; the children, seen only on one double-page spread, are diverse, and one of them uses a wheelchair.

Not ducky. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1449-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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