A lighter take on elections that’s full of Froggy favorites.

FROGGY FOR PRESIDENT!

From the Froggy series

The irrepressible Froggy runs for class president.

Froggy, seeing a poster at school for the class-president election, decides to run. When his teacher, Ms. Witherspoon, asks him what his platform is, he—in the silly humor readers have come to expect from Froggy—hops onto his desk and says, “This is!” After Ms. Witherspoon offers clarification, Froggy aims for more recess and snacks. Meanwhile, Frogilina also decides to run for class president, and her well-thought-out platform addresses issues of a more socially conscious nature. The familiar shticks of Froggy forgetting to put his clothes on, first seen in Froggy Gets Dressed (1992), and Froggy’s mother yelling “Frrooggyy”—seen in nearly all 29 previous Froggy books—are on display here, as is, of course, frequent onomatopoeia as Froggy makes his way through the day. They don’t feel worn, however—they feel like comfortable old friends. Remkiewicz’s brightly colored illustrations make excellent use of a variety of presentations—spots, full-page bleeds, and double-page spreads—and the lively cast of characters that inhabits Froggy-world does double duty as supporting characters and as visual segues to page turns. Other than a final endpaper showing Froggy and Frogilina holding a “Vote” sign, the empowerment aspect of voting isn’t addressed; rather, the story hints at the importance of wise platforms and endorses the idea of working together.

A lighter take on elections that’s full of Froggy favorites. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-451-47948-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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