A lovely story of using empathy to work through culture clashes.

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THE MONSTER DETECTOR

From the Big Foot & Little Foot series , Vol. 2

Sasquatch Hugo and human Boone deal with monsters, stereotypes, and cultural misunderstandings in the follow-up to Big Foot and Little Foot (2018).

After three years spent collecting wrappers from Mad Marvin’s Monster Cards, Hugo has finally saved up enough to send in for a prize. What arrives is a wristwatch-style monster detector filled with weechie-weechie moths that will flap their wings noisily when monsters are near. Exploring Widdershins Cavern in search of monsters, the detector guides Hugo to a secret entrance to the Big Wide World—where green fur and bones indicate the presence of the Green Whistler, a creature rumored to eat young squidges like him. Meanwhile, home-schooled Boone turns up at the Academy for Curious Squidges, wanting to attend; while only one of the sasquatch kids is openly prejudiced against humans, Boone endures an escalating string of misunderstandings that’s ended only by another crisis—the reappearance of the Green Whistler. Budding cryptozoologists Boone and Hugo pursue only to discover one last misunderstanding and a family history of cross-species friendship. The sasquatch humor and heroes’ earnestness make for a compelling story with natural flow, and the turnabout scenarios in which white Boone operates as a minority among the sasquatches are thoughtfully done.

A lovely story of using empathy to work through culture clashes. (final art unseen) (Fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3122-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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 goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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