Imaginative fun for all.

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THE GIRL WHO WOULDN'T BRUSH HER HAIR

When an imaginative, stubborn little girl refuses to brush her hair, strange consequences ensue.

The unnamed girl has beautiful, long wavy hair and prefers it tangled and wild. To her parents, she repeatedly states, “It’s just my way.” Soon, one mouse, then a second, and then more and more take up residence in the mess that is her hair. They tell her jokes, she shares her lunch with them, and they turn her hair into a mouse palace. All of these activities are shared by her doll, Baby, her constant companion. While she mostly enjoys the situation, she finally begins to understand that things have gotten out of control. The mice have convinced her to stop bathing because they can’t swim, resulting in offensive odors and loss of friends at school. Bernheimer employs a chatty narration that directly engages her audience. The tale is structured on a base of “what ifs…,” building upon absurdities that include parents who are barely there and amazingly tolerant while maintaining a sense of reality that allows young readers to believe, just a little, that it could happen. And of course, there’s a satisfying and reassuring conclusion. Parker’s digitally colored pencil illustrations complement the spirit of fun and fantasy, depicting a seemingly normal setting with the addition of some delightfully goofy details. 

Imaginative fun for all. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86878-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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