Good fun for older preschoolers and early-elementary children eager to flex their conceptual muscles.

READ REVIEW

OPPOSITES

Disparate beasts frolic in a variety of landscapes, all to demonstrate myriad combinations of opposite pairs. 

A dozen two-page spreads illustrate simple antonyms: big and small, hide and seek, naughty and nice, and more. The pictures are full of mischief. In treating wet and dry, for example, the left-hand, "Wet" page features various animals coping with a rainstorm. One raccoon finds shelter under a giraffe, while another frolics on the riverbank. A small frog high-steps with a big umbrella, and a squirrel and mole huddle under large green leaves. On the "Dry," right-hand page, a panda suns on a beach towel, a family of ducks swim in a pond with a frog lazing on the mother's back, a rhino dozes under a tree, etc. "Up" and "Down" includes a seesaw, a tall tree and tall, broad rocks with a tightrope stretching from one to another. Oh, yes, and an elephant's trunk poking up like a periscope from a hole. Compositionally, these spreads are not for beginners; although the gutter clearly defines the division between opposites, the illustrations typically depict one landscape, and the many animals scattered across them require fairly sophisticated eyes.

Good fun for older preschoolers and early-elementary children eager to flex their conceptual muscles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9359-5426-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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