THE GREAT PIG SEARCH

Christelow’s jolly tale revisits Bert, Ethel, and the troublemaking pigs from The Great Escape (1994). Once again the pigs have fled Bert and Ethel’s Vermont farm, “ ‘without so much as a thank-you,’ ” grumbles Bert. But Bert can’t shake the pigs escape from his mind, nor the mysterious postcard sent from Florida with the message “Oink!” Ethel recommends a holiday, and Bert buys tickets for Florida. Once there, he drives Ethel (and not a few Floridians) crazy with his incessant pig search. (Not that young readers will rest any easier as they ferret out the porkers hiding under sunbonnets and behind palm trees.) Bert never does see the pigs right under his own nose—C’mon Bert, that cabbie has cloven hands on the wheel—until it’s too late. Maybe they’ll send him another postcard. Christelow’s squiggly lines and dabs of bright watercolor are a perfect counterpoint to the deadpan text, which will have readers rooting for the pigs and laughing as the hapless Bert finds nothing but trouble in this snorter of a hide-and-seek picture book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-04910-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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