Ultimately, this lacks the solid and seamless math practice of the first; it’s just some math annoyingly mixed with a few...



The first, fabulous vaudevillian math escapades of the Wing Wing Brothers (The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular, 2012) give way to this lackluster second adventure at a carnival, with the action divided into three amusements.

Focusing on counting to 100 by 10s, the first amusement finds the five brothers competing to ring the bell at the top of a strength tower. While each brother does better than the last, the fifth one providing the slapstick they are known for, and each scores a multiple of 10, there is no counting here. The second amusement at least involves math: Each brother has a tray of 10, 20 or 30 wieners, which readers count as they come to the table, then subtract as the brothers gorge themselves sick. The last episode puts the brothers on the Wedgie Wheel. Readers add and subtract by 10s and 20s as the ride stops at each car, loading and unloading passengers. Prominent mathematical equations in a large red typeface help readers with the math in the last two amusements, though since the answers are included, they don’t really have to think at all. Long’s pencil-and-digital illustrations are still comical, but the slapstick just isn’t as funny this time around.

Ultimately, this lacks the solid and seamless math practice of the first; it’s just some math annoyingly mixed with a few kinda-funny jokes. (Math picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2604-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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