THE WONDERFUL HABITS OF RABBITS

Florian’s whimsical poem is set against a plethora, indeed a veritable multitude, of rabbits.

These bunnies come in many colors and shapes and sizes and, frankly, occasionally resemble animals not of the cony sort (children will be forgiven for wondering why the occasional kangaroo is playing with the bunnies). But their activities are not exactly bunnylike either, such as enjoying the smell of flowers (while eating same, with a napkin tied neatly around the neck) or building a snow bunny in winter, to say nothing of being tucked in “with a hug and a kiss.” The bouncy rhyme goes along happily with occasional rabbity thumps, which is as it should be. Though ostensibly about rabbits, of course, it’s really about children, and young readers and listeners will no doubt cotton on to the iteration of their own habits right away. The colors are soft and muted, with the occasional pop of bright red or orange. Working with gouache and then Photoshop, Sánchez takes advantage of the media to play with texture, juxtaposing small, scratchy lines with soft, blurry edges to create a countryside with just as much energy as its hopping inhabitants. The rabbits themselves are a happy combination of colors and patterns, a bounty of domestic bunnies let loose against the green.

Small and friendly. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0104-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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