In a crowded genre, this zany title is out standing in its field—along with the cows.



An imaginative entry in the I’ll-love-you-forever category.

Books that explore a parent’s love for their child are a dime a dozen and feature characters that range from cartoon people to cuddly, round-faced forest animals and everything in between. The language is usually either straightforward or poetic and lyrical. This title offers an unusual variation. Rhyming verses tell readers they’ll be loved until the scenarios described come to pass, and these grow more and more fantastical as the book progresses: “I will love you till the ants march in / wearing tiny ant hats and tiny ant grins / and birthday cake crumbs on their tiny ant chins. / I will love you till the ants march in.” Till “the cows come home” (from Mars), “the yaks come back” (from a snack run), “the sheep set sail,” “the wolves return” (from a hot air balloon trip), “the frogs ride past” (“on big-wheeled bikes”), “the deer dance by” (wearing top hats), and “the geese flap down,” and even beyond that, this child will be loved. The ending is a perfect bedtime complement, adding in the moon, sleeping animals, and frogs strumming violins. Litten’s mixed-media digital illustrations play up the silly situations, while the muted, blue-dominant palette will keep them from winding kids up too much before bed.

In a crowded genre, this zany title is out standing in its field—along with the cows. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-257420-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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