The forecast is for frequent checkouts for Freddy during weather-study units.

READ REVIEW

FREDDY THE FROGCASTER

From the Freddy the Frogcaster series , Vol. 1

A weather-loving frog finds a forecasting career in his future after he saves the town picnic.

Freddy’s loved weather from a very young age—his first word was “rain.” He uses his backyard weather station to make predictions and checks them against the forecasts of Sally Croaker on the Frog News Network, and he is uncannily right. But when Sally goes on maternity leave, Freddy’s forecasts no longer match those on TV—Polly Woggins, the new frogcaster, is frequently wrong in her predictions. Her popularity keeps her too busy to look for weather clues. So when the mayor needs an accurate forecast for the Leapfrog Picnic, he turns to Freddy, whose years of practice give him the confidence and knowledge to prepare the Frogatorium for a thunderstorm and be Polly’s new assistant. While the story is lengthy and littered with exclamation points, Dean, a meteorologist herself, knows her stuff. Six pages of backmatter use easy vocabulary and explanations to introduce weather words, maps, instruments, types of clouds and the job of a meteorologist (though it’s a shame this wasn’t better incorporated into the text). Still, Freddy’s confidence and enthusiasm are catching, and readers may find themselves keeping their own weather logs and browsing the publisher’s website for directions on making weather-forecasting instruments (not seen). Cox’s seemingly digital illustrations are bright and cheerful, and each frog has his or her own expressive face and personality.

The forecast is for frequent checkouts for Freddy during weather-study units. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62157-084-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Regnery

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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