If the terrain feels overfamiliar, at least it’s traveled through at a brisk pace with a plucky wanderer at its center.

READ REVIEW

A HOUSE FOR MOUSE

A mouse ventures out in search of a new home and finds several abodes from well-known fairy tales aren’t exactly to his liking in this rhyming picture book.

A little gray mouse decides to seek adventure away from his cozy house in the base of a tree one day. And after a festive party, the tiny creature finds himself a victim of housing-structure failure (“The Three Little Pigs”), tower inaccessibility (“Rapunzel”), and overcrowding in the titular footwear in “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.” The little mouse keeps plugging on, his tail following from tale to tale, but the lesson, when his friends pay a visit, is that home is wherever the people you love are. “For as far as you move and wherever you roam / It is family and friends who turn house into home.” The crayon drawings are whimsically Grimm while the text keeps things bright though, at times, a little off tempo. Illustrations throughout keep the mouse at a distance, focusing on the larger scenes instead as each story is referenced. There’s not much to the mouse’s own story, and it feels a bit like box-checking with the fairy tales, but there’s no denying the rodent’s simple lines and chipper adventuring make him an amiable traveling companion.

If the terrain feels overfamiliar, at least it’s traveled through at a brisk pace with a plucky wanderer at its center. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-500-65137-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more