Luscious, light, and thought-provoking: decidedly not to be missed! (Picture book. 3-8)

READ REVIEW

THE LAST PEACH

Two motley insects contemplate eating the last peach of the season.

Gordon presents children with a timeless, rather adult dilemma: how to act in the face of irresistible temptation. Here, two thumb-shaped flylike creatures—one dressed in a Homburg hat and blue-and-white–striped body suit, the other in a red print shirt—encounter a sumptuous peach, rosy and golden as the setting sun, still on the branch, and begin to discuss its merits. “It’s the most beautiful peach I’ve seen ALL summer,” says the bug dressed in blue. “Wouldn’t you agree?” “I do agree,” responds the red-shirted friend: “In fact, it’s the most beautiful peach I’ve seen in ALL the summers.” The two quickly decide they “must eat that peach at once,” but with one page turn, a venerable praying mantis, clad in top hat and cane, stops them, warning: “You can’t eat that peach! It’s the last peach of the season.” In delightfully clever double-page spreads, the two friends then go back and forth, hilariously debating whether to devour the peach together or alone, to share it with others or to leave it entirely. Gordon’s witty, collagelike mixed-media illustrations and spare, dialogue-only text not only get at the gnarly pit of indecision—serving up provocative behavioral binaries such as impulsivity versus reflection, indulgence versus sacrifice, hoarding versus sharing—but offer a surprise ending as well.

Luscious, light, and thought-provoking: decidedly not to be missed! (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-350-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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