As a book with a strong and gentle animal hero and fetching illustrations, this can stand proudly on a shelf with such...

HOW TO HIDE A LION

From the How To Hide a Lion series

A little girl named Iris proves herself smarter than the grown-ups around her as she secretly cares for a lion she knows to be kind—a lion who eventually saves the town from burglary.

All the lion wants as he strolls into town is to purchase a hat, but he soon finds himself fleeing from terrified, broom-and–rolling-pin–armed townspeople (one of whom brandishes a loaf of bread). Iris recognizes his gentleness, but it isn’t easy to hide him. And parents “can be funny about having a lion in the house.” A series of hilarious pictures, reminiscent of the energetic watercolor art of Ludwig Bemelmans and H.A. Rey, vividly demonstrates that the lion is too big, too fluffy and too heavy for easy camouflage. A magnificent double-page spread of Iris with an open book, leaning against the napping lion, recalls the pet Zeep picture in Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish: Both are pictures of deep contentment. After the lion saves the town, his one request to the grateful citizens takes the story full circle. The pages are sturdy, and the endpapers offer entertaining sketches of Iris and her enormous feline friend.

As a book with a strong and gentle animal hero and fetching illustrations, this can stand proudly on a shelf with such classics as Crictor, The Story of Ferdinand and, of course, Andy and the Lion. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9834-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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