At first glance, just a mildly comical set of ovine antics—but with (speaking of “silly games”) a not-so-amusing subtext.


Sheep play sexual politics on the lea in this deceptively bucolic outing.

Suddenly seeing her longtime best friend Marvin “in a different way,” Molly makes courtship overtures to which Marvin is oblivious. She then plays the jealousy card by going off with another sheep who has a feather and other “special things.” Wandering off sadly, Marvin comes upon an outdoor music festival where he’s primped, pampered and given such special things of his own as star-shaped shades and polka-dot shorts. Back in the field, he sings a wild song about how special he is and proposes to Molly—who accepts “[when] we are grown up. But first let’s play lots of silly games together!” In the painted illustrations, flowers nod over clipped greenswards as fleecy sheep drift by and baa or change expression when poked. Along with audio and autoplay options for the story, the app includes painting and dress-up features, plus a link to an unstable but free satellite app in which Marvin can entertainingly be made to blush, fart and belch.

At first glance, just a mildly comical set of ovine antics—but with (speaking of “silly games”) a not-so-amusing subtext. (iPad storybook app. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 30, 2012


Page Count: -

Publisher: Pekingese Puppy

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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