This is one terrific book.

I AM A TIGER

This mouse has moxie.

The titular “tiger” of Newson and Collins’ imaginative tale may have been born a mouse, but it’s a mouse made up of equal parts imagination and chutzpah. As the story begins, the unnamed, ungendered mouse proclaims proudly: “I am a tiger.” As a series of woodland animals begin to argue with the mouse, its claims of tigerhood grow more and more outlandish (and more humorous). When the expected tiger makes its appearance, the mouse doesn’t bat an eye as it declares, “You’re not a tiger. You’re a mouse!” And so begins the second half of the book as the mouse uses its zany logic to define the other animals in the story. The conclusion is open-ended, and readers hungry for more will extend the silliness on their own and hope for a sequel. Newson’s fearless tone and Collins’ humorous illustrations are a winning combination. The bold cartoons, set against bright, solid-colored backgrounds, are vibrant enough to be seen from the back of the classroom or storyhour room, and the expressions of each animal will definitely inspire rounds of giggles. Fans of David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka’s Moo! (2013) and Kevin Sherry’s I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (2007) will add this title to their list of favorites.

This is one terrific book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-34989-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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