A delightful, onomatopoeic introduction to the interactive sounds of awakening animals.

SQUEAK!

A mouse inadvertently ignites an early-morning chain reaction.

As a breeze tickles his ear, a small mouse wakes with a wee “SQUEAK,” disturbing chipmunks in the branches above. Their chitter-chatter dislodges pine cones that “KERPLOP” into the river, prompting resting trout to leap with a “SPLISH” and a “SPLASH.” This awakens a sleeping elk, whose antlers bump a cottonwood tree with a resounding “KA-BONK!” In response, an eagle nesting in the tree takes flight with a “WAH-WHOOOOSH,” waking bear cubs in a cave, which causes their grumpy mother to “GRRRRRRR!” A nearby wolf pack joins in with yips and long, drawn-out howls, triggering a bighorn lamb to disturb loose rocks and gravel with a “RUMBLE BUMBLE BOOOOOOM!” An irritated bison bellows a loud “ARRRGRUMMMPHH!” Soon all creatures in the valley are awake and participating in a boisterous cacophony. Sprightly double-page spreads, realistically rendered with bold outlines of black gouache digitally colored in Photoshop, create the ideal backdrop for this unfolding medley. From the opening spread of the barely visible mouse asleep beneath a towering tree foregrounding a vista of river, meadow, and bluffs, each page turn artfully leads from one amusing event to the next, highlighting each animal in its habitat, while prominent placement of animal sounds in large font reinforces the auditory theme.

A delightful, onomatopoeic introduction to the interactive sounds of awakening animals. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51815-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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