A winner, day or night

READ REVIEW

THIS IS MY ROOM!

(NO TIGERS ALLOWED)

Protagonist JoJo is old enough to have her own bedroom and doesn’t have to sleep with her big sister, Margaret, or anyone else…maybe.

As JoJo happily carries blankets to her new room, Margaret predicts that she’ll be back. JoJo pooh-poohs the notion. But after JoJo turns off her light and hunkers down, a lion steps out from behind the drapes. JoJo quickly hustles to Margaret’s room to tell her. Margaret suggests she make a “No Lions Allowed” sign. JoJo does and tapes it over her bed. After the lion reads the sign, it leaves; however, more animals appear. JoJo adds each animal’s name to the sign, which works until the curious tiger is confused by the sign. JoJo could return to her sister’s animal-free room, but instead she thinks of a way to solve the problem herself. Jacobson tackles the perennial desire of children to resist bedtime with a unique twist, her understated, patterned text totally in tune with her readers. Neonakis’ engaging use of color and composition make this a real page-turner. The interplay between text and illustrations may initially have some older readers skeptical that any animals are actually bedeviling JoJo, but the truth becomes clear in a dramatic, tension-filled sequence. The enormous bulks of JoJo’s nighttime animals, who seem as tentative as JoJo despite their fearsome looks, make for highly amusing compositions. JoJo and Margaret present white.

A winner, day or night . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0211-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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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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