Creepy and uncomfortable—rather like discovering that a spider is riding on your head.

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AH!

A rabbit and a spider engage in a strange adventure.

An unsuspecting rabbit is happily going about his business when he enters a kind of tunnel and discovers a spider, which promptly attaches itself to him. He runs, jumps, and yells, but nothing can dislodge it. Exhausted, the rabbit rests while the spider bides its time. When the rabbit wakes, he pays court to a lovely lady rabbit (so identified by eyelashes and wrist bangles), who, unknowingly, carries a spider of her own. Seeing the two spiders, they run away in panic, at which point the spiders get together gleefully. A curious bird and a dragonfly lurk nearby and watch all the action dispassionately. Various spellings of “Ah” provide most of the text, alternately expressing panic, satisfaction, or contentment. The spiders utter the only sentence, “How silly they are,” while laughing merrily at the rabbits’ fear and their own happy ending. The creatures are rendered in black line cartoon drawings with splashes of color in the secondary characters and in flowers and a rainbow. There is constant movement across the double-page spreads as the characters meet, separate, and meet again, but very young readers may have difficulty in following or understanding the plot. The underlying mood is rather nasty; the spiders are bullies who succeed at the rabbits’ expenses, while the bystanders do nothing.

Creepy and uncomfortable—rather like discovering that a spider is riding on your head. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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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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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