Children will be fascinated by some of the animals feats cataloged here and may even be curious to see how well they might...

AND THE WINNER IS...

AMAZING ANIMAL ATHLETES

How do the different species stack up in the seven events of the World Animal Games?

Walrus and Cockatoo are the announcers for the Olympics-like WAG competition, and like their human counterparts, they use wordplay, puns and tongue-in-cheek humor to reach their audience. Four animals compete in each contest, each depicted in four pages. Trading cards around the margins introduce their names, classes, homes, habitats and food (an introductory page lists/defines the habitats and features a large world map with continents and oceans labeled). While some winners will be easy to guess without even knowing the competitors (sprinting), others will be sure to surprise readers. The titular phrase is at the bottom of every other two-page spread, urging readers to turn the page and reveal the winner. The facing page is a look at how humans rate against these animal competitors in the same challenges (not very well). Anderson’s watercolor artwork is a mixed bag. The trading cards include a realistic portrait of each animal, but the center illustration frequently anthropomorphizes the animals and makes them look goofy—faces are not one of Anderson’s strong suits. But the weakness of the illustrations ceases to matter as readers get into the rhythm and suspense of the competition.

Children will be fascinated by some of the animals feats cataloged here and may even be curious to see how well they might do in comparison. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-904-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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