Olé, muchachos! Skippyjon Jones the handsome daredevil-ito! (Picture book. 4-8)

SKIPPYJON JONES CIRQUE DE OLÉ

From the Skippyjon Jones series

"Circus berserkus!" Skippyjon Jones heads for the big top!

Everyone's favorite-ito Siamese kitty boy (who thinks he’s a Chihuahua) returns for his seventh full-length picture-book outing. This time he’s high-wire obsessed, much to Mama Junebug Jones’ chagrin. He performs tail-tingling tricks on the telephone wire, entertaining his sisters and the squirrels but distressing Mama. After a talking to, he’s shut in his room…but that never confines this “Chi-wu-lu.” He creates a disguise and escapes through his closet (read: imagination) to the “circus pooch-ito” to perform with his Chihuahua buddies, los chimichangos. They recruit him (after pumping up his músculos with a bike pump) to be the bottom of their tower of Chihuahuas. However, Putzi Shtrungleboot the Shtrongdog isn’t happy that they borrowed his costume, and he sends Skippito Friskito soaring up to the trapezes and safely home (via a cannon shot). Schachner’s latest is full of the same Spanglish wordplay, sly tongue-in-cheek humor and frenetic acrylic-and-ink illustrations of her previous titles. Some of the word humor will soar over the heads of Skippyjon’s fan base, but they won’t mind; the language sounds so infectious when read correctly. Thankfully, an included CD read by the author with music and sound effects offers an example for parents and librarians forced into multiple readings.

Olé, muchachos! Skippyjon Jones the handsome daredevil-ito! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3782-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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