A little imagination and then a plan and the lizards will tackle that next problem with gusto.

READ REVIEW

I NEED A PLAN!

A lizard that can’t stay in the sun needs a plan for constant shade.

Paradise for lizards is the warmth of the sun, and a summer’s day finds them all hanging out and sipping iced drinks. One lizard, however, is allergic to the sun. While all the other lizards are sunbathing, this little lizard stays under the leaves of nearby plants to avoid the sun’s rays. But it doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun. “I think…I need a plan!” This invites readers into the process: in thinking, sketching out a plan, gathering materials, and preparing the materials for use. The first experiment (a carapace of leaves) is “too heavy,” the second (a cloak made of succulents), “too bulky.” This leads to more thinking, replanning, and redoing for experiment No. 3…success: a little leaf suit. Now the lizard can enjoy being out in the sun in its new costume—until someone suggests going into the pool. Looks like it’s time for some more rethinking, replanning, and redoing. This gratifyingly engaging tale lets readers in on the fun of planning and discovery while emphasizing a little perseverance. The desert environment provides all manner of big fleshy leaves and cacti—plus lizards in sunglasses—to help inspire in the making of the sun suit.

A little imagination and then a plan and the lizards will tackle that next problem with gusto. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-76036-059-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Starfish Bay

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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