The musicians live to play at the party, but some kids may feel a little sorry for those charismatic piranhas.

READ REVIEW

BEWARE THE MIGHTY BITEY

Musicians Mouse, Goat, and Bear can get to Cougar’s party only by traveling over a rope bridge that increasingly and perilously “sways and frays and slips and dips.”

As each animal makes its way across the bridge, Mouse strumming a ukulele, Goat beating a drum, and Bear playing a tuba, the rope frays further. They are not just afraid of a dunking: The Mighty Bitey Piranhas are waiting below. They sing: “We are the Mighty Bitey, / BEWARE our razor teeth! / snick, snack, click, clack, / zzzzzzzzzzz!” Will they get lucky and have a feast? The deeply colored rainforest illustrations with the characters’ heavy, black, sketchy lines were done digitally and look ready for animation. The lantern-jawed piranhas with their many teeth are fearsome and funny at the same time (one has a napkin and knife and fork at the ready). Just as only “a single twisting twine” is left holding the bridge together, a butterfly’s tiny weight upsets everything. The dangerous fish get ready for their lunch—but a surprise turn of events creates quite a different meal. With a little nod to “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” this original tale with its repetitive action and lively text will get kids involved in read-aloud sessions.

The musicians live to play at the party, but some kids may feel a little sorry for those charismatic piranhas. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-84886-361-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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