A tender tale of friendship, timed for Thanksgiving.

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BEAR SAYS THANKS

In a new companion to Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More (2002, 2003), a lovable bevy of friends come together again for feast and fun.

Bear is bored and lonely and decides that a dinner party is the perfect way to gather all his friends for some sharing and fun, but there is no food to be found in his cave. One by one his friends stop by, each bringing something delicious with open-hearted enthusiasm. Mouse, Hare, Badger, Gopher, Mole and feathered friends Owl, Raven and Wren pool their goodies and create a glorious feast. Bear is grateful and warmed by their generosity and, as in previous works, the title refrain is repeated at every offering. But he is also embarrassed at having nothing to contribute. His friends reassure him that he has stories to share that will make the feast special. The lilting verse is neither trite nor singsong, and movement and excitement are conveyed as the animals flap, flitter, hurry and tromp into Bear’s home. Rich autumn hues abound throughout, from the opening double-page spread to the glowing earth-toned cave strewn with twigs and colorful leaves. Deep friendship is supremely evident in facial expressions and body language and their joy at being together. Who would not love this cuddly, soft, furry creature?

A tender tale of friendship, timed for Thanksgiving. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5856-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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