A delicious outing for one and all.

READ REVIEW

THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE AT THE ZOO

From the Gingerbread Man series

Back for a fourth adventure, this smart cookie cavorts across the zoo, where many animals are ready for a nibble.

The Gingerbread Man’s class is on a field trip. The teacher has prepared a scavenger hunt of riddles to lead them to many different animals in the zoo. The first one poses: “I’m spotted. I’m gentle. / I’m tall as a tree. A branch full of leaves is / the best snack for me. / I have a new baby, / and she is my calf.” “AH-HA!” the class shouts; the answer is…(dramatic page turn included)…“GIRAFFE!” But just when the Gingerbread Man is about to read the next clue, the giraffe’s long tongue curls around him and lifts him up for a quick munch. The class goes on ahead, leaving the cookie in peril. Luckily he escapes, but the class is long gone. He must answer the rest of the riddles in order to find them. Alas, Murray only includes two more full riddles for readers to guess (plus an extra, non–zoo-related one at the end), but he does mention the many animals that the Gingerbread Man finds…even a certain sly fox, which the cookie instinctively knows to avoid. Lowery has always been careful to incorporate many races and ethnicities; this adventure does not stray from that practice.

A delicious outing for one and all. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16867-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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