A sweet and spunky everyday adventure.

READ REVIEW

MAX ON THE FARM

From the Max and Friends series , Vol. 3

Two friends sneak off on a late-night adventure during their class field trip in this third series installment by Stonewall Award–winner Lukoff.

White, transgender boy Max and his friend Teresa, a cisgender girl of color, love making messes together. Although Max doesn’t like getting into trouble, Teresa thinks trouble is part of the fun. When their class takes an overnight field trip to a farm, unexpected mischief awaits them after dark in the stinky, muddy pigpen. This picture book/early reader hybrid captures the playful, innocent spirit of two friends testing the boundaries of the world around them as Teresa’s spontaneity encourages Max outside of his comfort zone. The story centers on the dynamic of their friendship and what they learn on the farm, but readers of previous titles in the series will recognize recurring characters in the background, and both Max’s teacher and his whole class support him when the farmer and square dance instructor misgender him. Lozano depicts racial diversity in Max’s classmates, including students with pink to dark-brown skin and different textures of hair. Lukoff’s representation of a transgender character is refreshingly casual and well rounded. He provides much-needed inclusion for transgender youth in a new-experience story that doesn’t fixate on identity as a point of conflict and goes beyond the coming-out narrative.

A sweet and spunky everyday adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6863-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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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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