Truly, a tale for our times.

READ REVIEW

BULLY

A self-centered and egotistical bullfrog refuses to share the beauty of the pond ecosystem, ultimately leaving him in a muddy mess.

Sitting amid the tasty, beautifully scented lilies, Bully chases away the snail, the dragonfly, the bee, and “even the smallest fly,” declaring, “Those delicious, marvelous-smelling, tender lilies are MINE! Everybody out!” Now alone, he indulges in using and abusing the lilies by fashioning them into a crown, eating them until his tummy hurts, and making a new bed of lilies each night. When there is but one lily remaining, Bully guards it by sitting on it. The bee then leads her fellow evictees to take action, forming a large and intimidating squadron of bees, dragonflies, snails, and flies and successfully chasing Bully off the last lily pad and out of the pond. With the return of all the pollinators, the pond’s natural splendor is revived. Unfazed by the consequences of his behavior, Bully must now enjoy all the pleasures of sitting in a pile of gooey mud. “ ‘Humph,’ Bully croaked. ‘All mine.’ ” Sattler’s fable provides a model for how a sharing and caring community will win against a selfish bully’s ugly influence. Expressive graphite-and-watercolor illustrations reflect both the bullfrog’s emotional and environmental impacts on the pond and its inhabitants and the ultimate benevolent message of kindness. A final note about ways to practice acts of kindness completes the concept.

Truly, a tale for our times. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-416-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave...

RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL

Rufus Leroy Williams III is determined to learn how to read, but can he convince Principal Lipid to allow a pig in school?

Rufus makes the best of his illiteracy by imagining his own stories to go with the pictures in his favorite book, but still he longs to read. The tiny pig knows just how to solve his problem, though: With a backpack, he can go to school. But Principal Lipid seems to think it takes more than a backpack to attend school—if you are a pig, that is, since pigs are sure to wreak all sorts of havoc in school: track mud, start food fights, etc. Rufus decides a lunchbox is just the ticket, but the principal feels differently. Maybe a blanket for naptime? Or promises not to engage in specific behaviors? Nope. But the real necessary items were with Rufus all along—a book and the desire to learn to read it. Gorbachev’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations emphasize Rufus’ small size, making both his desire and the principal’s rejection seem that much larger. Parents and teachers beware: The humorous pages of imagined, naughty behavior may be more likely to catch children’ eyes than Rufus’ earnestly good behavior.

But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave him room to dream.” (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0416-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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