BALLYHOO BAY

Mira Bella heads to the beach each Saturday to teach art to both humans and sea creatures, who use wings, fins, claws, tentacles and hands to equally enthusiastic effect. The Special Event in June is the Ballyhoo Art Fair and Race where EVERYONE wins. In May, however, barbed wire and signs go up, announcing a beach development that specifically excludes children and wildlife. Mira Bella hatches a plan: Brandishing posters, creatures, children and grannies flummox the builders at the town council meeting, presenting Plan B, which passes unanimously. The environment will remain available to all, and art is respected with a rousing Fair. Sierra’s Seussian verse is ably accompanied by Anderson’s bright and textured acrylics, which adopt the perspectives of all the artists, be they babies or sea gulls. Humor abounds: A snake, an octopus and a skunk stare the mayor down; at the Fair, the otters’ portraits are true classics; endpapers show seascapes in the style of children’s drawings. A pleasant romp into the serious business of the environment and democracy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5888-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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