Showcasing the values of persistence and collaboration, this intelligent comedy offers substance alongside the laughter.

NO BORING STORIES!

Bunny is in search of a writer’s group, but her offbeat style is out of sync with both her wide-eyed, fluffy appearance and her cuddly counterparts working in clusters on the endpapers.

Following an arrow toward the “International Society for Writers of Odd and Weird,” she knows she has found her people. Unfortunately, Miss Mole and the other rough-hewn members—a giraffe-necked weevil, a babirusa, and a yeti crab—dismiss her after one look. She goes underground (literally), but the irrepressible rabbit can’t contain her contributions to the group’s unfolding narrative about a princess fighting to save the kingdom (and sandwiches), relayed in cloud-shaped thought bubbles. Santoso’s incisive designs range from sequential panels to full-page compositions. He differentiates the dual storylines by using earth tones for “reality” and a more vibrant palette for the invented action. Bunny’s interruptions force a confrontation during which the authors express frustration at the preponderance of adorable bunny stories, while the accused explains her misery regarding “all these ideas inside me” but no one to help with discernment. Happily, when the plot’s conclusion proves elusive, Bunny’s idea for turning evil grapes into carrot raisin salad is just the ticket. Falatko builds increasingly embellished sentences while also pairing terminology about and examples of story elements: “relatable characters,” an “inciting incident,” “rising action,” and a “climax.”

Showcasing the values of persistence and collaboration, this intelligent comedy offers substance alongside the laughter. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47682-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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