MAX & MILO GO TO SLEEP!

From the Max & Milo series

Brothers Max and Milo have totally different approaches to bedtime.

Neat Max is calm and ready to sleep. Messy Milo is too energetic and impatient to fall asleep easily. He wakes Max repeatedly for helpful suggestions, greeting each one with a variation of “good idea, Max.” Then he proceeds to make things worse. “Why don’t you read a book?” is followed by a noisy search for the right title. When the lamp won’t work, Max is awakened again and suggests a flashlight. Milo rigs it in a Rube Goldberg–esque contraption and proceeds to read his book amid loud bursts of laughter. And so it goes. Even with the whirring of a fan and the slurping of water, still Milo can’t sleep. And of course, neither can Max. When he finally loses his temper, it falls on deaf ears—for Milo is sound asleep and Max is left wide awake in a delightfully predictable conclusion. The tale is told visually within cartoon panels of varying sizes and configurations with balloons of brief, simply stated dialogue. The cartoon elements are brightly colored and heavily outlined in black on a purple background. By the way, Max and Milo are totally goofy, big-eyed, orange beavers. Young readers will surely recognize the trials of sibling relationships in the exaggerated comical situations.

Laugh-out-loud fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5143-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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