A good joke that lost its way a bit.

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IF AN ARMADILLO WENT TO A RESTAURANT

What do animals eat? In question-and-answer form, the human narrator compares animal restaurant orders with her own.

This lengthy joke follows a repetitive pattern. There’s a question that includes the usual locomotive pattern and habitat of one of nine interesting creatures. A silly answer is followed by a more sensible one. “If a RATTLESNAKE slithered through a desert cafeteria, what would she choose?” Not “[b]eans and rice” but “[s]everal rodents and a lizard.” Sea turtles crawl, butterflies flutter, wallabies hop, hedgehogs “[stop] by a forest food court,” ostriches run, and octopuses swim; the animals are of both sexes. The only variation in the pattern is in the pacing. Some questions and answers occupy a spread; others include the page turn. Beginning with the spaghetti-twirling armadillo on the cover, Wood’s quirky creatures add to the humor, which might well spur listeners to make up some menus of their own. The author and illustrator have their giraffe eating from wild apricot trees rather than the acacias that are so prevalent in the giraffes’ savanna habitat. While their diet includes wild apricots and mimosa, acacias are at its core.

A good joke that lost its way a bit. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-938063-39-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scarletta Press

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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