It's an odd book, but for anyone who has mice on the brain like this cat, there are more than enough cute ones in this book...

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A MOST MYSTERIOUS MOUSE

An unnamed cat experiences a metaphysical crisis.

The cat in question has mice on the brain—not just a few or even dozens, but 1 million. This is a feline whose mind can conjure up "ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR mice zooming along on a triple-decker bus" as well as a single perfect mouse, "which he would see in great detail." The cat is so focused on a goal of 1 million mice imagined that he forgoes time with other cats. But one last mouse remains elusive, driving the very purposeful kitty to distraction. When that last mouse appears to visit in actual form (it's unclear if it really happens or is imagined), cat and mouse have a wonderful day together, leaving the cat more hopeful and social. As readers might expect, the many, many mice are rendered in loving detail, and it's all very adorable. But the cat's anxiety about the limits of his imagination seems scarily joyless, and it's only after either a supernatural or coincidental visit from a biological enemy or a complete break with reality that this cat is somehow cured. Adults: this one might require more explaining and shoulder shrugging over the plot than bedtime might accommodate.

It's an odd book, but for anyone who has mice on the brain like this cat, there are more than enough cute ones in this book to satisfy .(Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-213-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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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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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

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