Guaranteed to tickle and delight while reinforcing counting skills.


Ten forest critters hibernate in the same winter den, producing one massive “snoozapalooza."

A mouse curls up in a “wee-sized heap” in a cozy winter den, snoring, sleeping, dozing, and dreaming in a “snoozapalooza.” He’s joined by a snail, and the two snuggle in a “tiny heap,” snoring, sleeping, dozing, and dreaming. A mole tunnels into the den, becoming the third creature in the “little heap.” A weary chipmunk appears as the fourth snoring, sleeping animal in the “bigger heap.” A hedgehog makes it a “growing heap” of five, followed by a rabbit who adds to the “rising heap” of six. A skunk settles into the “mighty heap” of seven. The arrival of a fox creates a “grand-sized heap” of eight, and a badger increases the “giant heap” to nine. Finally, a bear squeezes into the now-“massive heap” of snoring, sleeping, dozing, and dreaming denizens. Their combined, prodigious snoring eventually frightens and bewilders 10 other woodland critters, prompting them to mount a massive wake-up chorus. Relying on repetition—but for the number (rendered as a numeral) and the adjective, many stanzas are identical—and rhyme, the text of this clever counting book gradually builds into a “snoozapalooza” as each new creature joins the snoring heap. Working with simple, readily identifiable shapes, the fancifully colorful, comic illustrations visually reinforce the growth concept, with the increasing size of each creature added to the expanding mass of hilariously intertwined, hibernating bodies.

Guaranteed to tickle and delight while reinforcing counting skills. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64170-255-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Familius

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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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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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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