As Little Bear asks his Mama what she would do for a series of animal ailments, she answers him in rhyme while he draws a...

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IF BEAVER HAD A FEVER

“Mama Bear, Mama Bear… / If you were a doctor / in charge of the zoo, / what would you do / if Gnu had the flu?”

As Little Bear asks his Mama what she would do for a series of animal ailments, she answers him in rhyme while he draws a huge picture with crayons of the cure. “If Chimp came to see me, / and his foot had a pain, / I’d tell him to walk / with a big candy cane.” Little Bear draws a dressed chimp complete with bowtie walking with a red-and-white striped cane. Other supposed problems are: What if Deer couldn’t hear, Meerkat got too fat; Fox got chicken pox; Goat had a sore throat; Weasel had measles. The speculation ends with Little Bear himself. She replies, “I’d puppet a story. / I’d tootle a tune. / I’d huff and I’d puff you / a big red balloon. / … I’d fix all your favorites— / cookies and soup— / and when you got better, / I’d let out a WHOOOOP!” The rhymes have some hiccups, but the rhythm carries the story. The appealing illustrations (made with art markers, colored pencils and crayons) accessorize Mama Bear’s doctor garb with stethoscope and pearls. Little Bear’s drawings are a clever device, especially as they’re exactly like child-drawn crayon drawings. 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5951-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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