Previously self-published, this tale ably uses a modern artistic approach to tell an age-old tale of virtue and its rewards.



An insolent Taíno boy learns a valuable lesson in cooperative behavior when he is magically transformed into a tree frog in this Spanish-language retelling of a Puerto Rican folk tale.

The good children living on the island of Borikén help their mothers and fathers with the daily fishing and fruit gathering and then attend the full moon festival. Kiki Kokí is lazy and indifferent, declaring that the festival is stupid and that helping is no fun. Forbidden from attending, Kokí runs away and is turned into a golden tree frog by the angry moon goddess. Kokí must show, for 30 days, his willingness to help the other frogs, or he will remain a tree frog forever. The chastened Kokí works with his new amphibian friends to clean, gather food and cook, and even demonstrates a newfound selflessness when he helps them escape a group of rat pirates. Impressed, the moon goddess sends him back home as a boy, and he becomes the best helper while still having fun. Former Disney designer Rodríguez takes the coquí frog, the Puerto Rican national symbol, and uses bold, opaque colors to capture it in a caricature that will be familiar to cartoon-savvy youngsters. The dense tropical forests contain both breech-clout–clad Indians and fanciful amphibian villages with modern conveniences.

Previously self-published, this tale ably uses a modern artistic approach to tell an age-old tale of virtue and its rewards. (Spanish picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62672-104-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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