Extroverts may appreciate the validation, but this series is losing its freshness for everyone else.




From the Goodnight Already! series

Poor, beleaguered Bear must put up with his neighbor Duck’s over-the-top excitement when it snows overnight.

Those familiar with the Goodnight Already! series know that Bear and Duck have previously weathered differences in sleep patterns, activity choices, and some time apart. This time, Extrovert (with a capital E) Duck is thrilled to wake to new snowfall. The first thing Duck does is run to tell Bear, who is in the bath, and cajole him into enjoying the snow together. Introvert (with a capital I) Bear is interested only in drying off. But Duck won’t be put off. “No” is Bear’s answer to every activity suggestion Duck poses, but Duck insists on sledding and snow angels and a snowball fight. Hilariously, Bear is wearing only a yellow and orange polka-dot towel around his waist and a tiny shower cap atop his head; Duck didn’t even let him dry off, which is why his sudden sneeze is no surprise. Duck’s ministrations are the final straw for Bear: “Out! Now!” Duck’s own sneeze leads to a subtle (not!) message for Bear begging for some TLC. Bear is almost a slapstick character in Davies’ illustrations, and Duck is a whirlwind of energy. As in many recent introvert/extrovert books, it’s the introvert who gives in to make the peace: Bear, still sick, comes and tends Duck, though unwillingly. Moreover, the joke simply feels old in this fourth iteration.

Extroverts may appreciate the validation, but this series is losing its freshness for everyone else. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-237099-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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