Children and hotels don’t seem like a natural fit, but Malin’s superb and ingenious photographs should amuse a broad range...

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Take a tour of the famous Parker Hotel, where there’s a lot of horseplay…and camel play, and lion play, and….

Vivid digital photographs depict a bevy of animals wandering around the hotel and its grounds. Maurice, the concierge, welcomes you. He’s an expressive monkey in a red fez. “HOP over,” and get a key from Wally the desk clerk, who’s a kangaroo. The owner, Mr. Parker, is a majestic lion. A camel stands near the pool, then roams the halls, looking for her room. (She’s a guest, and her name is Callie.) There’s an ostrich playing tennis, flamingos having a party, and an elephant named Eliza charging down a path surrounded by tall hedges and studded with colorful balloons. The pastry chef is a small white pig named Pierre; he has baked the guests some delicious treats, which Maurice is happy to serve. Expressive Maurice can be spotted all over the complex, fiddling with the TV remote, snuggling in a king-size bed, playing ping-pong. He also waves goodbye to readers at the end of this tour of the Parker. The text, which arbitrarily capitalizes various words, reads like the voice-over it essentially is. An author’s note explains that the real Parker Hotel in Palm Springs inspired his work and informs readers that the animals were photographed in situ.

Children and hotels don’t seem like a natural fit, but Malin’s superb and ingenious photographs should amuse a broad range of readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2930-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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