Lively fun. Readers may pick up some pointers for their own games of hide-and-seek.


Elephants can do lots of stuff; they never forget, for instance. But play hide-and-seek? Not so much.

Face it: Whenever elephants play this game with child friends, guess who inevitably gets found first? These giants’ girth and height, not to mention trunks, account for their consistent failure to hide successfully. Now the Elephant Hobby and Sport League comes to the rescue with The Elephants’ Guide to Hide-and-Seek, which features crafty ploys to help level playing fields. Wise pachyderms would do well to bring their vaunted memories to bear on its pages. Sample tips: hiding in a large bathtub with shower curtains and standing behind a humongous pile of unsorted laundry (the kind found in a typical kid’s bedroom). Some don’ts? Cramming into too-small spaces, like doghouses, or pretending to be a lump in a bed. If nothing works, the guide also advises that elephants just be “it”—or simply accept the fun of being found. After all, “you love those kids!” This cute but slight tale mines humor from its snarky narration, voiced in the cheesy tone of a TV commercial. Cheery, energetic, expressive cartoons depict kids with varied skin tones and hairstyles playing in the park with their blue, bespectacled elephant pal as the latter demonstrates various tips outlined in the guide.

Lively fun. Readers may pick up some pointers for their own games of hide-and-seek. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7846-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.


Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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