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DUCK, DUCK, DINOSAUR AND THE NOISE AT NIGHT

Would that all such nighttime disturbances could be so easily explained.

The loud noise that keeps waking Feather, Flap, and Spike turns out to have a decidedly un-scary origin.

Returning for a second outing (Duck, Duck, Dinosaur, 2016), three unlikely sibs—two feathered and one big, green, and scaled—have outgrown their nest and proudly moved to a nearby bower of their own. But a humongous “GRRORE!” sends first Spike and then the others fleeing into the bushes. And hardly have they settled down again than the shattering noise puts them to flight once more. Soon they’re exhausted. What to do? The popeyed younglings in Vidal’s moonlit scenes, particularly Spike, who is all massive head and feet with a nearly imperceptible body between, make droll embodiments of a common nighttime anxiety. The huge size of the rumbling roar on the page, plus the repetitive structure of George’s narrative, lightens the tone further. Deciding at last to fight noise with noise, Feather and Flap vigorously whale away at tree trunks, but Spike only nods off…and the true nature of the earth-shaking blasts are revealed. Mystery solved, the trio nestles down happily beneath dino-snores that are now shrunk to an ignorable size.

Would that all such nighttime disturbances could be so easily explained. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-235317-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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