An entertaining effort with a disappointing denouement.

READ REVIEW

PRINCE RIBBIT

Three pink-cheeked, white princesses meet a conniving frog in this amusing metafictional parody of “The Frog Prince.”

The two older sisters are elegant young ladies in jewels and brocade gowns who sit in the palace garden reading fairy tales. They sit quietly and read “The Frog Prince,” while their much younger sister, Princess Martha, prefers learning facts and studying real frogs. A clever frog introduces himself as the ensorcelled Prince Ribbit and convinces the older sisters to take him indoors for a pampered life. Spunky Princess Martha, with red, curly hair and glasses, sees through the frog’s ruse. Her sisters offer fairy tales to prove their point, while Martha counters with informational texts, triggering the story’s refrain: “Just because it’s in a book doesn’t mean it’s true.” The older sisters kiss the frog to try to break the spell and turn him into a handsome prince and future husband, but Martha tries to befriend the frog, sealing the deal with a gentle kiss. In a surprising twist ending, the frog turns into a dark-haired, pale-skinned prince who is “SO handsome that Martha decided she DID want to marry him after all.” The final page, however, shows Martha laughing with the real frog, along with the story’s thematic advice not to believe everything, as “just because it’s in a book doesn’t mean it’s true.” Despite the tongue-in-cheek ambiguity of the ending, the story seems to reinforce the notion that partners should be chosen based on appearances. In addition, Princess Martha appears far too young to be contemplating marriage, so the moment when readers think she is may unsettle them. A huge trim size and digitally produced illustrations in bright, jewel tones add appeal.

An entertaining effort with a disappointing denouement. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56145-761-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more