With remarkably appealing spiders showing energy and emotion on every page, this clever, well-paced story is sure to appeal...



A gigantic spider saves their itsy-bitsy friends in this hilarious twist on an old fingerplay.

Cute, fuzzy, pastel spiders Itsy-Bitsy, Mitsy-Bitsy, Litsy-Plitsy, and Witsy-Ditsy all climb up the waterspout. “I could climb up the waterspout if I wanted to!” insists the Hugely-Wugely Spider, “Which I don’t!” Then they try to squeeze in (no easy task—they are huge, after all) only to rebuffed by the tiny spiders, who put up a sign saying “You must be at least this itsy-bitsy to climb up the waterspout.” But as millions of children and adults know, “down comes the rain,” threatening to “wash the spiders out.” In the spirit of Rudolph and Tacky the Penguin, the Hugely-Wugely Spider plugs up the waterspout with their ample body, enduring the rain and accumulated muck from the gutters, until the sun comes out “and dried up all the rain” (“No! I dried up all the rain! The sun didn’t do anything,” argues the Hugely-Wugely Spider. “It’s true,” agrees the sun). The story concludes with an updated version of the famous song crediting the heroism of the Hugely-Wugely Spider, who is rewarded with “heaps and heaps of adorable leg warmers to keep all of my adorable legs perfectly warm!” Edwards’ scratchy, cartoon illustrations take the premise and ably amp up the humor.

With remarkably appealing spiders showing energy and emotion on every page, this clever, well-paced story is sure to appeal to children with a taste for zany, self-referential humor . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30616-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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