This indeed should please the bees! (Picture book. 4-8)

PLEASE PLEASE THE BEES

From his morning toast with honey to a last cup of tea with honey at bedtime, Benedict’s fondness for the sticky stuff defines just about everything he does.

So when the honeybees go on strike, it’s a crisis: breakfast tastes terrible, and his routine is thrown totally out of whack. A union rep holding a tiny “Strike!” sign opens negotiations. Benedict isn’t having any of it: “I let you all live in my yard. All I ask is for a few jars of honey. You should be grateful.” The bee is incredulous: “Buddy, we deliver three jars of honey to you every day. Every month! Every year! Do the math, Einstein!” The bee lists their grievances: a leaky, drafty hive and a weedy yard that forces mileslong flights to find flowers. Chagrined, Benedict does “some research…a little shopping…[and] a lot of work”; he even studies up on how to harvest the honey himself. The bee-yard now a pollinator’s paradise, the union rep calls off the strike, and life is sweet once again—“for everyone.” In his authorial debut, illustrator Kelley shows a knack for a wry turn of phrase, an effective economy with character development, and a good sense of textual pacing. The illustrations are frequently a hoot, in particular the many hovering bees holding their signs aloft as Benedict looks on in consternation, and Benedict’s transformed yard is lovely to behold.

This indeed should please the bees! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-5183-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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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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