What do a woolly monkey, a blue-tongued skink, and a zebra butterfly have in common? All have descriptive names derived from some aspect of their appearance, while other animals chosen for inclusion in this beautifully illustrated work have names descriptive of their sounds, motions, or habitats. DuQuette’s (The House Book, 1999, etc.) skillfully composed illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil often show the animals in groups by the special aspect of their names, although these animals might not live together in the wild (a howler monkey and a whooping crane, for example). This small drawback is overcome by the visual power of the highly detailed and varied animals, shown in several spreads against striking black backgrounds that show every scale and feather to great advantage. Four pages of brief factual summaries are included for the 35 animals, along with two pages of notes on 18 additional creatures, accompanied by small black-and-white illustrations. Children of all ages will enjoy the rich variety of names, and teachers will find both interesting information about specific species and a consummate lesson in descriptive nouns and compound words (roadrunner, rattlesnake, thornbug, hummingbird, and many more). Despite the profusion of nonfiction titles on every aspect of the animal world, there is only one other title in print specifically about animal names: Pam Muñoz Ryan’s A Pinky Is a Baby Mouse (1997). (Picture book/nonfiction. 2-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23445-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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Hee haw.

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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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Froggy's back (Froggy Learns to Swim, 1995, etc.) and on his first day of school, he wakes up late and goes to class in his underwear! No, that's only a dream—Froggy's parents wake him up just in time and they have breakfast together before leapfrogging to the bus stop. At school, Froggy gets a name tag, falls off his chair, and teaches the class—and the teacher—and the principal- -how to swim, an act that includes singing ``Bubble bubble, toot toot. Chicken, airplane, soldier.'' When his parents pick him up at the bus stop at the end of the day, they discover that he has forgotten his lunch box in school. `` `Oh, Froggy. Will you ever learn?' said his mother. `That's why I'm going to school, Mom!' '' The accessible writing has plenty of gratifying opportunities for funny sounds when read out loud, and is also endearingly wry: ``He liked his name. It was the first word he knew how to read. It was the only word he knew how to read.'' Remkiewicz's bright watercolors feature punchy, bouncy, bug-eyed animals wearing emphatically exaggerated expressions: This bunch is easy to love. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-86726-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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