Stick with Numeroff for her if-then tales, and look to Eric Pinder and Marc Brown’s If All the Animals Came Inside and Judi...

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OTTER OUT OF WATER

The age-old trope of an animal following someone home is taken to new levels in this look at an otter out of water.

An otter in the water is a fascinating creature, but what if he leaves the water? What if he stays out and follows you home? Two children experience just such a thing in Wargin’s imaginative verse. A ranger finally tracks the otter to the children’s house, but will he stay away? Probably not—too much fun has been had. Unfortunately, the verse doesn’t always scan well either rhythmically or visually; the rhyming words are set in a larger font, but some are on the right-hand pages and some on the left, and often lines are split in two to fit the page layout. The result is often confusing and may trip readers up instead of helping them along. “What if the otter / remains in your house? / Would he bounce / on the chairs? / Would he skid / down the stairs? // Would he swing / on the curtains / that hang in / neat pairs? / Do you think an otter belongs in the house?” This otter is sure to remind readers of the beloved mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but this tries too hard to rhyme, and the story gets a bit lost in the telling.

Stick with Numeroff for her if-then tales, and look to Eric Pinder and Marc Brown’s If All the Animals Came Inside and Judi Barrett’s romps for more animals-acting-like-people humor. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58536-431-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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