An attractive complement to Eric Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

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INVISIBLE LIZARD

Napoleon, a colorful, “spiffy” chameleon, lives on an equally “spiffy” tree limb and blends in so well with his surroundings the other jungle residents cannot see him.

With his charming personality, Napoleon tries to entice and engage Polly, a squawking parrot, and Mike, a screeching monkey, by waving his arms, weaving a welcome mat, and making funny faces. Much to their fright and distress, the parrot and monkey see only a talking tree. In his final attempt to be recognized, Napoleon stands on his head and eventually slips and falls, so he’s forced to use his sticky tongue to flick and grab hold of the limb. Suddenly everyone is able to see him hanging by his tongue. Polly is impressed by his colors, and Mike admires his swinging. The three become friends through daily visits and games of hide-and-seek. Detailed, vibrant paintings in boldly verdant colors give Napoleon’s rain-forest environment a surrealistic twist. Curved shapes echo the lizard’s bulging eyes, rounded body, bumpy skin, and curling tail, melding kaleidoscopically with his ever changing colors. The well-designed layout draws children into the paintings to search for Polly, Mike, and, of course, Napoleon in each amid abundant insects, mushrooms, ferns, and fungus living and growing on the tree limb.

An attractive complement to Eric Carle’s The Mixed-Up Chameleon. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-378-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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