Order, grown-ups, order.




Those canines are at it again (Dig, Dogs, Dig, 2013), this time demolishing an old apartment building and constructing a new one in its stead.

After meeting the crew on the endpapers, readers dive right into the project with the enthusiastic dogs, the rhythm and rhyme of the verses building momentum. The wrecking ball first does its job, then the crew clears the site and begins construction, each different task requiring a different type of truck—bulldozer, dump truck, crane, concrete mixer, forklift, pumper—though not all are named in the text. Great vocabulary will really test young builders’ knowledge, though those not construction-savvy may need an adult to help them master the terms: rubble, barricades, tier, girders, welding, riveting, fixtures, terrace. Small details in Horvath’s brightly colored digital illustrations will likely draw readers back for repeated looks: As in the dogs’ first outing, a black cat lurks on every page, joining the crew on the rear endpapers. The energy reaches a crescendo when a truck full of balls crashes near the site—“fetch, dogs, fetch!”—giving readers yet another thing to look for in the pages that follow. While the construction detail does not reach the level of Sally Sutton’s Roadwork (2008), this is a rollicking, energetic read that will pump up kids’ enthusiasm for building.

Order, grown-ups, order. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-218967-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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