Underwear stylin’ with Frog—keep an eye out for its contagious fashion statement.


If you were an orange-spotted jungle frog, the last thing you’d want to lose is your underpants.

It is the stuff of troubling dreams, but Frog is taking it fairly well. Sort of. “Hopping through the jungle— / ‘Help me! Help me! / What became of dignity? / They stole my underpants!’ ” Newcomer MacIver can turn a phrase in just the right fashion to find purchase in children’s ears—internal rhymes, couplets, quatrains, some intriguing new vocabulary—and they play nicely with Chapman’s cheery watercolors. Teddy is the first to lend Frog a hand, even though he “hides a smile. / ‘Who would steal your undies? / It’s hardly worth their while.’ ” Frog thinks otherwise: “Every frog would give his legs / to own a pair like these.” Chimpanzee joins the hunt, as does Mr. Elephant: “ ‘How dreadful!’ cries the elephant. ‘Now, please don’t think me rude, / but I am shocked to see a frog / so plainly in the nude.’ ” They find the unmentionables—100 spotted jungle frogs are playing with them—and then have to outfit all the frogs with briefs (made from lakka leaves), which makes Frog unhappy, as he is no longer unique. His inspired act of self-expression: He’ll wear his backward. Sure, it’s cockamamie, but it takes on life when set to the music of rhyme and rhythm. A guffawing read-along with a smart taste for verbiage.

Underwear stylin’ with Frog—keep an eye out for its contagious fashion statement. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6782-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


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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