Nothing new here, but kids may get a kick out of the wacky premise and broad, pun-studded humor.

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DUCK ON A DISCO BALL

From the Duck in the Fridge series

A supersilly riff on a perennial question: What do grown-ups do while kids sleep?

The child narrator, shooed off to bed with his toy duck, stalls his grown-ups with questions: “What if my duck needs a snack?” “Or a giant boulder rolls over the house?” In the mornings, “something is always just a little weird.” In this illustration, Duck lies flopped over that titular disco ball, above an open fridge that conjures Mack’s previous Duck in the Fridge (2014). The boy decides to track his parents’ nighttime whereabouts—and witnesses a rumpus that incorporates many of his previous, wild questions. Seemingly, parents and duck collaborate on chaotic fun that includes couch-diving and a multispecies party featuring snacks and hokey wordplay. Dad exuberantly yells, “I wanna rock!” Cue the duck, a crane, and a huge boulder that crashes the party—flattening the couch but not the maniacally upbeat mood. Magically, the parents fly out the window, sky-high, then fall back into bed—where the boy curls up to sleep, too. A dream, right? Maybe not: There’s that duck, tuckered out behind the couch near a familiar electric guitar. Mack’s digital pictures mix retro textile prints and boldly outlined, cartoonish depictions of round-eyed humans and animals. The boy’s parents look like kids themselves, and the trio appears white.

Nothing new here, but kids may get a kick out of the wacky premise and broad, pun-studded humor. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-0292-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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