I LOVE YOU! A BUSHEL AND A PECK

A duckling farmer tries to let his lady love know how he feels about her as they work the farm. He calls her in the middle of the night, skywrites X’s and O’s, serenades her, and finally takes her on vacation as the farm animals run amok. Wells’s unmistakable pudgy, open-faced characters, flirty ducklings this time, cavort, bounce, race, and promenade around a farmyard in this bucolic interpretation of Loesser’s song from the Broadway show Guys & Dolls. The text, adapted from the lyrics, winds across some pages, fills frames on others, and forms the frames on still others, all the while suggesting a musical rhythm. Toddlers will get caught up in the exuberance, and parents will wonder why they never noticed the Mother Goose quality of the song as they tap their feet. Backmatter includes the actual words and music for adventuresome presenters. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-028549-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2004

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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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The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

INFINITE COUNTRY

A 15-year-old girl in Colombia, doing time in a remote detention center, orchestrates a jail break and tries to get home.

"People say drugs and alcohol are the greatest and most persuasive narcotics—the elements most likely to ruin a life. They're wrong. It's love." As the U.S. recovers from the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, from the misery of separations on the border, from both the idea and the reality of a wall around the United States, Engel's vital story of a divided Colombian family is a book we need to read. Weaving Andean myth and natural symbolism into her narrative—condors signify mating for life, jaguars revenge; the embattled Colombians are "a singed species of birds without feathers who can still fly"; children born in one country and raised in another are "repotted flowers, creatures forced to live in the wrong habitat"—she follows Talia, the youngest child, on a complex journey. Having committed a violent crime not long before she was scheduled to leave her father in Bogotá to join her mother and siblings in New Jersey, she winds up in a horrible Catholic juvie from which she must escape in order to make her plane. Hence the book's wonderful first sentence: "It was her idea to tie up the nun." Talia's cross-country journey is interwoven with the story of her parents' early romance, their migration to the United States, her father's deportation, her grandmother's death, the struggle to reunite. In the latter third of the book, surprising narrative shifts are made to include the voices of Talia's siblings, raised in the U.S. This provides interesting new perspectives, but it is a little awkward to break the fourth wall so late in the book. Attention, TV and movie people: This story is made for the screen.

The rare immigrant chronicle that is as long on hope as it is on heartbreak.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982159-46-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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FROGGY GOES TO SCHOOL

Froggy's back (Froggy Learns to Swim, 1995, etc.) and on his first day of school, he wakes up late and goes to class in his underwear! No, that's only a dream—Froggy's parents wake him up just in time and they have breakfast together before leapfrogging to the bus stop. At school, Froggy gets a name tag, falls off his chair, and teaches the class—and the teacher—and the principal- -how to swim, an act that includes singing ``Bubble bubble, toot toot. Chicken, airplane, soldier.'' When his parents pick him up at the bus stop at the end of the day, they discover that he has forgotten his lunch box in school. `` `Oh, Froggy. Will you ever learn?' said his mother. `That's why I'm going to school, Mom!' '' The accessible writing has plenty of gratifying opportunities for funny sounds when read out loud, and is also endearingly wry: ``He liked his name. It was the first word he knew how to read. It was the only word he knew how to read.'' Remkiewicz's bright watercolors feature punchy, bouncy, bug-eyed animals wearing emphatically exaggerated expressions: This bunch is easy to love. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86726-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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