So silly it’s unlikely to make new readers crabby.

READ REVIEW

HELLO, CRABBY!

From the Crabby Book series , Vol. 1

Four linked vignettes featuring characters introduced in Fenske’s picture books (Plankton Is Pushy, 2017, etc.) use the same words over and over while providing context for vocabulary new to beginning readers.

Crabby lives up to their name—they're crabby. The sun’s in their eyes, salt’s in their teeth, sand’s in their shell—just another day at the beach. They're looking for excitement but are too self-absorbed to understand “boring Barnacle’s” warning, “Wave!” In the second chapter, “pushy Plankton” tries to get Crabby to see the bright side of life at the beach, but Crabby insists, “Crabs are crabby. It is what we do.” In Chapter 3, “The Joke,” Crabby refuses to be amused. Finally, in Chapter 4, Plankton almost gets Crabby to smile by baking them a five-layer chocolate cake. Even then, though, Crabby says, “I prefer lemon” and observes, “It is a little dry.” Crabby’s persistent grumpiness and the patient plankton’s exasperation are shown clearly in their expressive eyes and mouths as well as their dialogue. Pages broken into colorful panels and color-coded speech bubbles help beginning readers focus on the words. Flat, two-dimensional cartoon drawings and a smaller-than-usual trim are designed to help new readers make the transition to chapter books with denser text and fewer pictures. Instructions on drawing Crabby and a story prompt close the book.

So silly it’s unlikely to make new readers crabby. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28151-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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