Muted giggles but no standing ovation for this orchestra.

READ REVIEW

WHAT THIS STORY NEEDS IS A BANG AND A CLANG

From the Pig in a Wig series

The fourth in the early-reader Pig in a Wig series.

This time the pig in a wig finds herself conducting an orchestra. Humor is the order of the day as the various animals—raccoon, dog, bird, cow, cat—assemble to play the instruments. At first, the pig is alone on the bandstand, but her musical friends soon join in on a wide assortment of instruments: banjo, bells, bass, trombone, bugle, kazoo, and drum. When a little, tuba-playing mouse joins in with a squeak, the whole band goes crazy! It’s not clear why all the animals are unnerved by the mouse, but they certainly are. Feeling more like a choppy phonics textbook than a story, the book doesn’t give readers enough to make it worth the work to read. While each traditional sound word (“buzz,” “jingle”) could be decoded by beginning readers, Virján includes so many nonsense words (including “tootle,” “brup,” “tish,” and “bwap”) in her text—often they are the only words on a page—that young readers may lose interest along the way. Parents and teachers who will be called upon to help young readers sound out the “words” will quickly tire of the chore. Followers of the series will enjoy another go-around with this familiar character, but the plot does not hold up to its predecessors.

Muted giggles but no standing ovation for this orchestra. (Early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241530-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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