EVERYBUNNY DANCE!

The coast is clear! It’s a perfect chance for a colony of bunnies to dance, play, and sing.

Brief rhyming phrases lay the groundwork for the bunnies’ activities. “Everybunny dance! // And clap your paws, / and twist and twirl, / and shake your tail, / and wiggle and whirl.” After dancing, the bunnies pull out their instruments: “Everybunny play! // And bang a drum, / and play the flute, / and blow a horn, / a-tooty-toot!” Just as the bunnies are singing, the villain appears: a fox! “Everybunny run!” As the bunnies hide, they watch the fox dance, play a clarinet, and perform a somersault. But the fox is lonely and sad without an audience. Surprise! Everybunny claps and invites the fox to join in with their fun. The attractive and creative illustrations paint the bunnies to match the text’s exuberance. Some are in brown or red polka dots, some sport bow ties, and some wear ballet shoes or tutus. The fox makes a dramatic entrance with just its vivid red head spreading menacingly across two pages. The page composition as a whole is effective, with good page turns and focal points and with some words highlighted. There are several opportunities for using the book with children, in addition to reading the story. It could be a challenging counting book (there are as many as 24 or 26 bunnies per page) and/or a game for storytime with kids acting it out (with a tolerant adult).

Foxy fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9822-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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