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MUSK OX COUNTS

Those kids ready to wrap their heads around musk ox’s anarchic approach, though, will likely find their (singular) stomachs...

More crazy hijinks from the irrepressible musk ox and his sidekick control-freak zebra will engender belly laughs in Cabatingan and Myers’ highly original sequel to the wild and wacky alphabet book A Is for Musk Ox (2012).

Zebra’s efforts to establish traditional counting-book order are foiled right from the first page as the musk ox is seen disappearing from his prescribed position as “1 musk ox.” Things only gets more zany on 2, where he is pictured consorting with two fetching female yaks, thereby ruining the concept of 2 by inserting himself as a third animal. By 4, he is again hijacking poor zebra’s concept, scaring away the 4 birds and replacing them with the less-attractive 4 stomachs (“just like cows”). More ridiculous scenarios bedevil the animals’ futile attempt to complete the counting series. Six snails have been eaten by the four birds that the musk ox scared away; 10 dogs run away, leaving zebra and musk ox using their eight legs plus two heads to make up the number. This approach is deliberately challenging and will only work for children who are already completely comfortable with counting; those who are not will likely find this terminally confusing.

Those kids ready to wrap their heads around musk ox’s anarchic approach, though, will likely find their (singular) stomachs sore from laughing. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59643-798-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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