Even independent witches need some companions, but how many is too many? (Picture book. 4-7)

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LOTS OF CATS

An independent witch who wishes for a playmate gets a little more than she bargained for.

Margaret has lots of interests that keep her busy, but sometimes it might be nice to have a friend to share them with. So she adds some extra ingredients to a spell to summon a playmate…but it backfires, producing 12 cats on her doorstop. Taylor’s detailed, textured colored-pencil illustrations show all the fun Margaret has with her new pals. But they also show all the trouble they cause: the mess they make, the food they eat, the hair they shed, and oh, the poop! So Margaret takes drastic measures to make them disappear (cat owners will not be surprised at what drives them away) and enjoys some brief alone time before realizing she misses their company. Spells to bring them back fail, and searches are in vain. But then, anticlimactically, she dreams of a spell to retrieve them and finds the cats in her bed when she wakes. Margaret is a childlike witch with light skin, short blondish hair, a purple dress, and a pointed witch’s hat. The pages that highlight the cats’ antics are the best (imagine the game of Twister!)—readers will long for their return along with Margaret. Still, those leaning toward introversion may cringe that there’s no compromise between all or nothing.

Even independent witches need some companions, but how many is too many? (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267569-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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