A combination of farce and fun, this will tickle pre-readers.

READ REVIEW

BEARS DON'T READ!

George the bear is bored.

He doesn’t want to “do the usual bear things” like his sisters and brothers, but he’s not sure what he does want. When he finds a book under a tree in the forest, though, that all changes. Enticed by its pictures of a bear “just like him” and despite warnings from his siblings, he heads to town to find the book’s owner in hopes she or he will teach him to read. His arrival is far from warm: All the people scream and run away. He locates the school, expecting to find children, but it’s empty. Then two things happen: Police in riot gear arrive and surround George even as a little girl shows up with her mother and claims the book is hers. Of course, the twosome pair up to the satisfaction of all, proving once again that reading is magic, and for George, it’s just the beginning. Chichester Clark’s signature style makes the story appealing. The font varies size to match the differing volume of voices and build the drama. Clever details add humor and visual interest. By the end, the chief of police is reading poetry to George; collaged-in bits of printed fabric enhance the bear’s lush and verdant wood. Inherent to the story is the subtle message that there’s a difference between not being able to read and not wanting to read.

A combination of farce and fun, this will tickle pre-readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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