The tale has a random feel about it, but one might suppose that underpants of any gender are always amusing to the under-7...

FRANCIS, THE LITTLE FOX

Translated from the French, this tale based on the app Renaud le petit renard perhaps loses something in print.

Francis is a smartly dressed little fox who spends Saturdays with his father at Mr. Li’s Small Socks Laundromat. He likes getting away from his annoying little sister, Lola, but fears Mr. Li’s granddaughter, Lily Rain Boots, who is always playing tricks. He makes lists of things he likes about laundry day (mixing patterns and colors! Sock tossing!), but while he and his dad are out having frozen yogurt, Lily adds lots of extra detergent to their laundry. It makes a huge mess of bubbles and terrifies the laundry cat, whose name is Mouse. Calling for Mouse terrifies the buxom Madame Bernadette, who thinks it’s a real mouse. Lily guiltily cleans up the mess but not before playing one final trick, which involves the beribboned unmentionables of the zaftig Madame Bernadette. And that’s about it, but it takes over 90 pages to get there. The simple shapes in dusty pastels evoke a French or Québecois city in which animals walk upright and dress as nattily as the humans. Mr. Li and Lily are definitely Asian, and Madame Bernadette wears high heels and a heart-shaped neckline.

The tale has a random feel about it, but one might suppose that underpants of any gender are always amusing to the under-7 set. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-894786-40-9

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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