A solid Mouse Math entry that will help youngsters just beginning to add and subtract by ones and twos.

ALBERT ADDS UP!

From the Mouse Math series

When Wanda brings home the second of Captain Slime’s adventures from the library, Albert will offer her almost anything to get his paws on it.

Before Wanda even has her coat off, Albert is offering to let her play with “one of [his] favorite toys,” and he runs off to get it. Not letting her finish any of her sentences (which means he always gets the impression that she is saying no), he continually adds items to the ever growing pile: 1+1=2. The offerings grow increasingly wilder and more outlandish, from Albert’s pet worms to the giant birthday gumball (that’s not so much a ball anymore: “[Y]ou can chew it as much as you like before you give it back”). But Wanda is not impressed with any of them and doesn’t want to trade Captain Slime, so Albert slowly subtracts each item. Wanda finally gets a word in edgewise and admits she checked the book out for him all along. Melmon’s bright illustrations capture Albert’s enthusiasm as well as Wanda’s exasperation, and though the two are mice, their mouse hole will seem cozily familiar to readers. A publisher’s letter to parents and educators explains how Albert and Wanda can be an important part of math education for children, while the backmatter provides ways for adults and children to interact mathematically. A Mousy Mess, by Laura Driscoll but also illustrated by Melmon, publishes simultaneously.

A solid Mouse Math entry that will help youngsters just beginning to add and subtract by ones and twos. (Math picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-57565-744-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Press

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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