Not the best friendship story, but one needn’t feel sheepish about enjoying this.

READ REVIEW

SHEEP DOG AND SHEEP SHEEP

From the Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep series

New friends are out together, though not dancing, sheep to sheep.

The dancing allusion is apropos given that Sheep loves to trot the light fantastic and show off fancy hoofwork. The sprightly movements help her meet a shaggy canine on her farm. When this critter—a sheepdog—explains his function, Sheep declares that she’s an expert at watching animals of her kind, too, and is, therefore, a “SHEEP sheep.” Twice while searching for items her new buddy will need for his job, Sheep is stalked by wily predators. Unbeknownst to her, but observed by the dog—and readers—they attempt stealthy grabs but are promptly sent packing by…guess who? A third near mishap, to which Sheep is again oblivious, soon occurs, but the watchful dog saves her woolly hide again. Sheep Dog’s best “rescue,” though?—a clever and satisfying action plan for Sheep’s future at this thin story’s resolution that gives her a sense of purpose and restores her self-esteem, at the same time offering a punning twist on shepherding. Some may frown that the male is active and resourceful while the female remains relatively passive. The illustrations, rendered in colored pencils and Adobe Photoshop, are humorous and energetic if flat, which suits the endearing, cartoony, expressive characters.

Not the best friendship story, but one needn’t feel sheepish about enjoying this. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-267738-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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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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