Fans of the author’s previous monkey titles will welcome this silly new tale, but adults wishing for a safety message...

FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS TRICK-OR-TREAT

Christelow’s rambunctious monkeys are decked out in their costumes and ready to play an elaborate trick that may end up jeopardizing any treats they might receive.

Mama makes sure her little ones are ready when Lulu the babysitter arrives to take them out on Halloween night. Their costumes: banana, alien, ghost, goblin and princess. “Don’t lose the rascals!” Mama cautions. All goes well until one monkey decides to switch costumes with a friend. Now that monkey is a blue bunny instead of an alien. The other monkeys think this is “SO funny” and follow suit. Though Lulu notices, like all great babysitters, she does not spoil the fun—at first. But the look in her eye foreshadows a comeuppance for her young charges. Suddenly Lulu announces that it is time for the new banana, ghost, goblin, alien and princess to go. “We have to get home for a big Halloween treat!” Suddenly, the disguised monkeys worry that they are going to miss something special and quickly follow Lulu and their friends to the house. Crafty Lulu and wise Mama soon sort out the confusion, and the mischievous bunch is quickly forgiven as they sample some tricky treats of eyeball cookies and worm juice.

Fans of the author’s previous monkey titles will welcome this silly new tale, but adults wishing for a safety message warning against similar copycat antics will be disappointed. (recipes) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-85893-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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