Here’s hoping that this welcome return presages plenty of additional adventures.



From the Pig Kahuna series

Fans of porcine siblings Fergus and Dink’s first outing will be thrilled to welcome them back to the beach, while pirate-loving listeners (familiar or not) will be particularly pleased.

Once again, Sattler offers a fresh and clever take on a perennially popular theme. This time, it’s Fergus’ turn to help Dink have a good day. Waking up from a nap on Dave, the surfboard that started it all, Dink is grumpy. He doesn’t want to wade (the water is too cold) or build a sand castle (his unsuccessful efforts are too close to the water’s edge). Even his snack is ruined when Fergus unwittingly flings sand on him. Fergus’ find—a pirate hat—proves temporarily intriguing, but Dink still winds up stomping along the shore. Slimed with seaweed and nipped by a crab, he comes careening back to his brother only to find a picture-perfect pirate ship made of sand and himself made one of the crew. Brisk dialogue gains extra humor from the bright and bouncy illustrations, created with acrylics and colored pencil. The brothers’ expressive faces, especially their eyes, which roll, squint and smile, add emotional heft. Simple backgrounds allow the boys to claim center stage, while textured strokes effectively evoke the broad swath of sand and the swirling sea.

Here’s hoping that this welcome return presages plenty of additional adventures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-200-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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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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