Both very silly and very appealing. (Picture book. 4-6)

READ REVIEW

THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL

A little boy of pleasingly indeterminate ethnicity goes out to his little backyard inflatable pool to find a whale in it.

It’s a very large, round, blue whale, which is kind of squished on top of the pool. It is way, way too big for it. Mom is reading and does not see the whale. The boy tries persuasion, counting to 10, enticing the whale into a game of fetch, even offering his allowance, but the whale does not budge. He even offers his neighbor’s much larger in-ground swimming pool (alert young readers will note the dorsal fin visible in the neighbor’s clear blue waters). Finally, he puts his floatie on top of the whale’s spout, just in time to hear Mom call naptime. That presents its own set of problems: not the toys and socks that are strewn about the bedroom floor, but the snoring occupant of his bed—a large bear with its own teddy. The front endpapers show the blue whale in various positions on the wading pool, the back endpapers show the bear tossing and turning and snoring, all the while clinging to that teddy. All the art is drawn in thick strong line and flat color, simple and accessible. The text comprises the boy’s play-by-play narration of the events, including an endearingly believable whine to his oblivious mother.

Both very silly and very appealing. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30037-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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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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But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave...

RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL

Rufus Leroy Williams III is determined to learn how to read, but can he convince Principal Lipid to allow a pig in school?

Rufus makes the best of his illiteracy by imagining his own stories to go with the pictures in his favorite book, but still he longs to read. The tiny pig knows just how to solve his problem, though: With a backpack, he can go to school. But Principal Lipid seems to think it takes more than a backpack to attend school—if you are a pig, that is, since pigs are sure to wreak all sorts of havoc in school: track mud, start food fights, etc. Rufus decides a lunchbox is just the ticket, but the principal feels differently. Maybe a blanket for naptime? Or promises not to engage in specific behaviors? Nope. But the real necessary items were with Rufus all along—a book and the desire to learn to read it. Gorbachev’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations emphasize Rufus’ small size, making both his desire and the principal’s rejection seem that much larger. Parents and teachers beware: The humorous pages of imagined, naughty behavior may be more likely to catch children’ eyes than Rufus’ earnestly good behavior.

But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave him room to dream.” (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0416-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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