A lovely, lyrical visual and verbal exploration of the wonders of twilight.

READ REVIEW

TWILIGHT CHANT

As twilight arrives, the crepuscular creatures emerge.

In twilight’s “sun has just gone down light,” egrets “fly to roost” and swallows “skim above the fields,” while deer “come out to graze.” In twilight, bats “swoop and swerve” and rabbits hop and nibble. Leaving their dens, foxes “sniff out birds and voles” and firefly lights blink off and on. “The skunks slink over lawn,” the June bugs seek leaves to munch, and stretching cats prowl for mice. Thompson’s languorous, cadenced lines poetically capture the light-infused stillness of this special time of day by repeating both the word “light” at the ends of many phrases as well as the phrase “twilight the low light”; the design enhances the effect by carefully positioning the spare text on the page for maximum effectiveness. Betton’s realistic, double-page illustrations, in watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil, showcase animals, insects, and birds mentioned in the text in their native habitats, active and vibrant against the luminous lavenders, pinks, blues, and yellows of the twilight sky. A useful note “About Twilight” explains the period of low light “after sunset and before sunrise” when crepuscular animals are active, listing those visible in North America and featured in the text and in close-ups.

A lovely, lyrical visual and verbal exploration of the wonders of twilight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-58648-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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