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CINDERELEPHANT

Other fractured versions are funnier, while many straightforward versions are far more beautiful; opt for them.

An extra-large take on the classic fairy tale.

The Warty Sisters, Cinderelephant’s warthog cousins, work the poor elephant mercilessly—in the first illustration, she has a pot handle in one hand and a mop in the other, and there’s an iron at the end of her trunk—and leave her sad and lonely when they depart for Prince Trunky’s ball. But a swish of her Furry Godmouse’s tail instantly transforms Cinderelephant’s clothes and makes a limo appear. Of course, she becomes the belle of the ball, as Prince Trunky is afraid of squashing the other, smaller guests. Indeed, synonyms for “large” dot the text. Some wordplay will go right over readers’ heads: “Cinder-irrelevant!” But other instances will be in tune with a kid’s sense of humor, as when the Furry Godmouse tells Cinderelephant to have a good time, but, “and it’s a big but.” This is juxtaposed with an illustration of Cinderelephant’s huge derrière as she bends down to get into the white stretch limo. Unfortunately, though, while the illustrations have moments of humor, they don’t otherwise stand out; despite Dodd’s oversized subject, the details often get lost in the digital artwork, and the sparkly cover, while it may attract readers, isn’t enough to keep them coming back. And why, with all the possibilities available to her, does Dodd limit herself to names so unfunny and -punny?

Other fractured versions are funnier, while many straightforward versions are far more beautiful; opt for them. (Fractured fairy tale. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-53285-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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ADDIE ANT GOES ON AN ADVENTURE

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade.

An ant explores her world.

Addie Ant’s ready for adventure. Despite some trepidation about leaving the Tomato Bed, where she lives with her aunt, she plucks up her courage and ventures forth across the garden to the far side of the shed. On her journey, she meets her pal Lewis Ladybug, who greets her warmly, points the way, and offers sage advice. When Addie arrives at her destination, she’s welcomed by lovely Beatrix Butterfly and enjoys an “ant-tastic” helping of watermelon. Beatrix also provides Addie with take-home treats and a map for the “Cricket Express,” which will take her straight home. Arriving at the terminal, Addie’s delighted to meet another friend, Cleo Cricket, whose carriage service returns Addie home in “two hops.” After eating a warm tomato soup dinner, Addie falls asleep and dreams of future exploits. Adorable though not terribly original, this story brims with sensuous pleasures, both textual and visual. Kids who declare that they dislike fruits or veggies may find their mouths watering at the mentions and sights of luscious tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelons, berries, and other foodstuffs; insect-averse readers may likewise think differently after encountering these convivial, wide-eyed characters. And those flowers and herbs everywhere! The highlights are the colors that burst from the pages. Addie’s an endearing, empowering character who reassures children they’ll be able to take those first independent steps successfully.

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade. (author’s note about ants) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797228914

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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