Young readers and listeners will laugh out loud as they closely examine the pictures and find the jokes in this highly...

THE BEAR ATE YOUR SANDWICH

Who took the sandwich?

An unseen narrator explains what became of a missing sandwich in an inventive selection that places the blame on a bear—but not in the way one might expect. Lured to a pickup truck by the scent of berries, a curious black bear dines and then falls asleep in its bed. While he snoozes, he is accidentally transported to an entirely new world. Mistaking the city before him for just a different forest, he ventures out, comically behaving as if investigating a woodland environment. The telephone poles might as well be trees, and the wet cement feels a lot like mud, after all. The text plays along with the bear’s misconception, while the energetic and appealing acrylics show what the bear really sees and interacts with; children will delight in the details as well as the humor involved in spotting the disparities between the pictures and words. But wait—just who is telling this tall tale, anyway? And is said individual worthy of our trust? A trifle more explanation or pointed questioning would have made the story just about perfect, but as it stands, this enjoyable romp is sure to elicit giggles.

Young readers and listeners will laugh out loud as they closely examine the pictures and find the jokes in this highly interactive urban adventure. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-375-85860-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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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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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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