SQUEAK!

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

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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 28, 2018

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