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

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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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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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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