A good joke that lost its way a bit.

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 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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