Gently makes the case that everyone should follow their bliss.

EENY UP ABOVE

There’s no place like home, but you can still make room for adventure.

Sisters Eeny, Meeny, and Miney Mole live companionably in their deep, dark hole. All feel safe in this atmosphere that’s always the same. Older sisters Meeny and Miney don’t ever want to leave, but the much-younger Eeny also loves the world Up Above. Both Meeny and Miney worry about Eeny’s trips Up Above and warn her of the possible dangers; the worst of all are “humans.” This makes Eeny wary but does not deter her. She brings a shovel and pail when she makes her explorations Up Above, and learns tidbits about life there from new friends Worm, Cat, Snake, and Centipede. One day, Something large with five wriggly parts comes down over her head. It smells of dirt and digging. She is frightened but reminds herself that “some moles are content in their old holes. But some moles are not me.” The feeling of Something’s paw is soft and comforting and new. Like Spring. There are some holes in this story; in particular, children will wonder just why Eeny always totes shovel and pail but hardly ever seems to use them. But Brown’s soft illustrations echo Beatrix Potter’s in both delicacy and whimsy, and Yolen’s story of bravery justified should put a smile in readers’ hearts. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently makes the case that everyone should follow their bliss. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62371-865-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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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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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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