Some kids may hop to this beat.

READ REVIEW

FRANKIE FROG AND THE THROATY CROAKERS

A frog frets when he can’t make music.

Frankie the frog can’t croak, as hard as he tries. Unlike his fellow frogs, who easily break out into their signature sounds, and other pond denizens who produce their own natural utterances, Frankie can’t make a sound. One night, he hears glorious tones…and encounters humans, each of whom is playing, for a princess’s benefit, a melody-producing object Frankie dubs a “music machine.” Frankie rushes home and creates his own “machine,” which he calls Banjo; after considerable practice, he produces wonderful music. This is overheard by friends whom Frankie promptly helps as they devise instruments, too. Forming a quartet and developing a solid reputation, the group decides to enter the annual Croak Competition. Undeterred when told that only croakers can participate, Frankie invents a “froggy machine” that, well, croaks to beat the band. This is a thin, unoriginal story, but it could encourage readers to persevere in pursuit of their dreams; kids who can’t carry a tune might even consider taking up an instrument to fulfill any musical ambitions. The illustrations are the draw here—full of energy, liveliness, and wit, they populate a charming natural world with cheery, big-eyed, personable frogs and other animals of all sizes, some dressed in retro garb. Hartas stimulates interest with art that varies among full-page illustrations, panels, and spot-art pieces.

Some kids may hop to this beat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2543-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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