THE OTHER GOOSE

Kerr, author of the beloved Mog books, uses soft, colored pencils and a Mother Goose–meets–The Ugly Duckling story to weave an uneven tale about a lonely goose in search of a mate. As the only goose on the town pond, Katerina wants the other goose—the one she sees reflected in the shiny side of a car—to “come out of the car” and be her friend. When Katerina stops a robbery at the bank, the townspeople reward her; the next day, the shiny car pulls up, the door opens, and Charlie, Katerina’s male counterpart, “comes out of the car.” The narrative stands on the interplay between text and picture; Kerr’s scrawling colored-pencil illustrations complement her text nicely, adding humor where it is lacking. The choice of colored pencils as a medium creates the look of a child’s drawings, simple and straightforward. Kerr’s dialogue is patchy, at times unoriginal, and yet sometimes wonderfully clever. When Katerina sees the robber carrying a bag, she thinks, “it was a goose-sized bag and there was something in it. There was a goose-sized thing in that goose-sized bag.” The logic here follows nicely, as Katerina pieces together the scene and comes to the realization that something is wrong. Yet many of Katerina’s actions seem forced, as if placed strategically to arrive at the final “wink” in the story—the “coming out of the car” play on words. While young and old audiences alike will get a kick out of this joke, the wordplay alone does not hold up as the backbone of the work. New readers will be able to “read” the pictures, without ever knowing a word. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-008254-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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