An enjoyable piece that will entice readers back to the original tale (conveniently re-illustrated by Voake and publishing...

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THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT

Newlyweds Owl and Pussy-cat are ready for another adventure in this continuation of Edward Lear’s classic poem.

Picking up the Owl and the Pussy-cat’s story immediately following their nuptials, Donaldson’s new tale involves a crow’s theft of the Pussy-cat’s wedding ring and the couple’s acquisition of a hot air balloon in which to search for the thief. Freedom from the narrative constraints of Lear’s original work enables her to maintain the style of his original verse while introducing a host of new characters, including a Pobble with no toes, glove-knitting Doves, and a Dong with a brightly shining Nose. Though not as well-defined as the original cast, the new additions are whimsically illustrated by Voake, whose ink-and-watercolor drawings aptly convey both the Owl’s and the Pussy-cat’s sorrow at losing the ring and their adventurous spirits during the journey to recover it. Best of all, her renderings of the protagonists highlight their abiding love. The endpapers in particular set the tone of the new story and express to readers the difference between initial romance and married love. Using only soft blue hues, she depicts the married couple in a heart surrounded by birds and balloons, indicating that their love is unvarying and soaring.

An enjoyable piece that will entice readers back to the original tale (conveniently re-illustrated by Voake and publishing simultaneously). (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9081-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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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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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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