DOG ON A FROG?

In a delightfully ridiculous continuation to Frog on a Log? (2015), when the bossy, rhyming cat announces where everyone must sit, the frog asserts a change in the rules.

Picking up from the first book’s last page, in which an amiable-looking basset is sitting on a frog, the nervous frog yells “HEY, DOG! GET OFF THE FROG.” Once again the know-it-all cat appears, restating the rules: “Cats sit on mats, / frogs sit on logs, / and dogs sit on FROGS!” But the frog protests and revises the rules to say “Dogs sit on logs, / and cats sit on gnats.” “OUCH!” exclaims the shocked cat. And so begins another round of cleverly silly statements about the proper seating of an assortment of different animals, insects, and even some fantastical beings (“dragons will sit on wagons,” and “canaries will sit on fairies”). All are assigned rhyming seating locations by the frog, whose ultimate revenge is a very comfortable lounge chair. The previous book’s winning layout is repeated, with boldly colored, opaque backgrounds hosting a bunch of surprised- or distressed-looking cartoon animals atop their ludicrously assigned perches. The fun of matching a nonsensical rhyme for each character will have kids shrieking with laughter as each new illustration is viewed. And new readers will swiftly acclimate to the repetitive pattern and smart vocabulary.

A triumphant sequel. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-11695-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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