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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Hee haw.

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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