Another stunner from Henkes, who is able to evoke so much with few words and such seemingly simple illustrations. Gorgeous...

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EGG

In Henkes’ latest book, the illustrator returns to one of his favorite recent themes—waiting.

Four eggs. Three crack and then hatch, and the chicks wait for the fourth, sometimes helping with a “peck-peck-peck.” When it does hatch, what a surprise! The chicks are so surprised they scatter and leave the new, crocodilian addition to their flock alone to become sad, lonely, and miserable. But in an act of burgeoning friendship, they return, line up on its back, and float off to enjoy the water and sun. As in Henkes’ Caldecott- and Geisel Honor–winning Waiting (2015), the theme is waiting, beautifully rendered in brown ink and watercolor paint. In Waiting, he used white space to great effect to give the figurines space as their attention was directed outward, to the moon, the stars, the wind. Here, pages are framed, and some are divided into four or 16 squares, which then open to full-page spreads depicting surprise, wonder, and newfound companionship. The frames and boxes complement the idea of containment in eggs, especially of the something enclosed in that fourth egg. When the four friends float off into the sunset, the sun itself morphs into an egg shape, with a hint of a new surprise in their lives.

Another stunner from Henkes, who is able to evoke so much with few words and such seemingly simple illustrations. Gorgeous and thought-provoking. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-240872-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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