THE DONKEY EGG by Janet Stevens

THE DONKEY EGG

Age Range: 3 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bear’s wily neighbor Fox produces a gigantic green “donkey egg” and convinces Bear to part with $20 for it.

The Stevens sisters delve into the folk tradition for this tale, variants of which appear in such disparate places as Korea and Algeria, creating full personalities for its protagonists along with a satisfying conclusion to the central hoax, turning a practical joke into a win for the dupe. Cameo portraits introduce the main characters, starting with Bear, who “worked hard, but not anymore. Needs motivation.” Bear is large, furry, and sleepy; Rabbit’s energetic and jumpy; Fox is dapper and sly. Readers will know, as Bear knows, that the huge watermelon is not a donkey egg. But Fox is so persuasive that Bear settles in to help the egg hatch. As Bear sits, warming the egg, rocking it, telling it stories, and playing with it, amusing sidebars calculate seconds in minutes, hours, and days and offer helpful facts (“It takes a spider about an hour to spin a fancy web”; “It takes about a week for a snake to sheds its entire skin”). Bear, who seems to snooze away his days, has a purpose. When disaster—of a sort—strikes, Bear’s devotion has sparked his energy, and he is able to act, with his friend Rabbit as cheerleader, turning Fox’s shenanigans into a fine treasure. Stevens’ nicely detailed illustrations with their exaggerated, cartoon humor emphasize the delightful silliness. That there is no note indicating the story's folk origins is a serious omission, however.

The deserts take a while to get there, but boy, are they just. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-547-32767-9
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: HMH Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2018




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