Mole finds a comfortable balance in the material world without getting apoplectic about it—a worthwhile lesson, neatly...

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MOLE HAD EVERYTHING

Mole’s idyllic existence is threatened when the bug of acquisition bites him.

Odone introduces readers to good-tempered Mole. The little insectivore has a small home with a bed and a pillow, a shelf of books and a teacup. He also has a lake to skip stones on, caves to explore, stars to walk under, birds to spook and a friend named Emerson, who comes for tea. Mole soon learns that one cup won’t do. “You need more, Mole,” said Emerson. And more than just a teacup. Lots more, like everything. So Mole embarks on a quest for everything, tunneling hither and yon and gathering all the stuff he finds, like everything. It is good fun to watch Mole go about his mission, as Odone’s artwork has a kooky, grand scope to it, with many strange objects drawn in soft colors and a gently antique feel. When Mole comes to discover that all the junk makes his home claustrophobic—a stout foldout page highlights his cornucopia—and that he has to spend a lot of time taking care of it (dusting, winding, whatnot), the message is served without the need for a hammer to drive it home. Everything has to go—well, not that second teacup. Sometimes more’s the merrier.

Mole finds a comfortable balance in the material world without getting apoplectic about it—a worthwhile lesson, neatly presented. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60905-224-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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