More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite.

READ REVIEW

SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK)

Picture Rita Skeeter as a chicken for a general sense of this book’s goofy take on intrusive narration and one-sided reporting.

The tale of Snappsy the alligator hits a snag from the start when his trip to the grocery store is interpreted with inaccurate (according to Snappsy) and increasingly nasty commentary. While the authoritative narrator presents Snappsy as a vicious predator, readers who look at the pictures and hear Snappsy’s objections to this misrepresentation will see another side to the story. "Snappsy looked hungrily at the other shoppers,” intones the narrator, while the illustration reveals the alligator mildly smiling and waving as he studies a jar of peanut butter. Eventually Snappsy decides to throw a house party, more to please the narrator by making the tale sound interesting than anything else. And who just happens to come knocking at the door in a party hat? None other than the narrator, ready for the chicken dance. What sets this apart from standard-issue picture-book metafiction is its commentary on selective reporting. Unreliable narration is normally the purview of the novel, but this picture book asks elementary-age readers to question the truth of what they’re being told. Illustrator Miller’s style is cartoonish, showing how background characters are initially swayed by the narrator’s erroneous charges and then won over by Snappsy’s charisma.

More than merely meta, Snappsy is clearly a book, if not a protagonist, with bite. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-46945-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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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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