THE TURTLE AND THE MONKEY

Described as "a Philippine tale," this story of a turtle who finds a banana tree in the river and a monkey who cheats her out of its fruit begins with a catchy folklore situation but ultimately trails off in bits and pieces. As Turtle can't carry the tree to her garden by herself, she asks Monkey for help and agrees to give him his share in return. Monkey then insists on splitting the tree now, not the bananas later, and chooses the showier top half for himself. Though it is Turtle's half that survives and bears fruit, once more she must turn to Monkey, offering him some of the bananas if he will climb the tree and throw some down. Instead, he merely climbs up and eats his fill. Snappy enough so far, the story needs only a fitting comeuppance, but Turtle's strewing thorns and prickers around the tree and Monkey's painful hopping about on his descent doesn't quite answer. Grafted onto this is a briar-bush routine, with Monkey threatening reprisal and Turtle begging not to be thrown into the river. . . and then, when she is, paddling happily downstream, the bananas forgotten. Even Galdone's drawings lack spirit, with repetitive, minimally varied shots of Monkey and Turtle facing off against a slapdash tropical background.

Pub Date: March 21, 1983

ISBN: 0395544254

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1983

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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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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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