This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest.


Rabbit sisters with differing interests find a way to enjoy playing together.

Dollop and Lili are wide-eyed, long-eared, anthropomorphic bunnies. Dollop, the younger sister, is “b-o-r-e-d” but perks up when she hears her sister talking in the next room. She dons a ninja costume, creeps across the room (hiding amusingly but not very effectively behind a number of small items), and discovers that Lili is planning a tea party. Initially pleased to be included, Dollop ducks out when she’s admonished for burping and bored by Lili’s idea of “polite conversation.” Lili, aka Mrs. Fabulous, perseveres but finds it’s not much fun to play tea party alone. Her turnabout is not entirely convincing, but it effectively unites the two sisters again. Sattler’s text is a mix of straightforward description of action and emotions, dialogue, and humorously earnest instruction from Lili. She offers variety in her characteristically child-friendly cartoon-style illustrations as well, moving from double-page spreads to single pages and vignettes as the action unfolds. Created in watercolor, pencil, colored pencil, and Photoshop, the bright and cheery pictures keep the focus on the two sisters, their toys, and their clothes. There’s plenty of white space, and most backgrounds are only lightly sketched. Unfortunately, neither text nor pictures make up for the slight and predictable plot.

This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55335-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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