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

READ REVIEW

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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Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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