Reading promotion at its best, with a little bit of bad behavior to spice things up. (Picture book. 3-7)



From the Five Little Monkeys series

Christelow’s mischief-making monkey siblings return to the bed for their eighth Mama-frustrating adventure.

“When the five little monkeys are ready for bed, / their Mama reads stories, then kisses each head. / ‘It’s bedtime for Monkeys! Now turn out the light.’ ‘Oh, Mama! Oh, PLEASE! One more story tonight!’ ” But Mama is tired. She wishes them goodnight, but the light doesn’t go out. Those five little monkeys decide to read to themselves. When their sad story of a lost pup ends happily, they whoop and holler until Mama breaks in. “Mama raises an eyebrow. ‘What was it I said? / Lights out! Sweet dreams! / No more reading in bed!’ ” Have those five little monkeys ever minded? A scary book makes them scream. Mama returns. A funny book makes them laugh. Mama returns. When they’re finally drifting off, strange noises come from down the hall. It’s tired Mama reading in her bed, and it’s their turn to admonish her. Christelow’s silly simians are just as bouncy as they ever were. If their histrionics are a bit over the top from a parental point of view, the target audience won't care and might just join in. The author’s watercolor illustrations are solid as ever.

Reading promotion at its best, with a little bit of bad behavior to spice things up. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-547-38610-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2011

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

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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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