Pretty and positive (and posh).

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MISS MINK

LIFE LESSONS FOR A CAT COUNTESS

Miss Mink, human “cat countess,” relates 20 lessons she has gleaned from her 67 cats.

According to the introduction, Marcella Mink became a cat countess by welcoming those 67 cats into her mansion by the sea. She started her own cruise-ship line when her kitties were denied boarding privileges on other lines. Despite a successful business, she was sad until she learned the 20 lessons presented here from her cats. “Lesson One: Start the day off right with a proper grooming.” Miss Mink brushes her hair at a lavish vanity while her many feline friends (of a great many breeds) get their grooming on around her. “Lesson Five: Eat your greens first and dessert will taste even sweeter.” Miss Mink enjoys (and shares with a puss) a salad while her cats munch catnip and various household greenery. Lesson 16 counsels a catnap in the afternoon, and 19 suggests that friendships will lend needed support. Hill’s whimsical self-help tome, a companion to her canine-focused Miss Moon (2016), would make a splendid gift for any feline fan. Her illustrations, oils on canvas, have a 1920s flair to judge by the white human protagonist’s hair and attire, and they tweak the life lessons and adages they accompany with a touch of feline humor.

Pretty and positive (and posh). (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77049-922-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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