Seeger’s tricks are readers’ treats.




From the Dog and Bear series

Dog and Bear return just in time for Halloween.

Halloween is coming, and the duo goes to find costumes. Dog is hilarious as a mustard-topped hot dog, while Bear has selected a superhero outfit. In the dressing room, Bear spots his reflection in the mirror but mistakenly thinks it is another bear that looks exactly like him. When Bear invites Dog to investigate, they come to the same wrong conclusion. The second chapter finds Dog and Bear at home on Halloween night. The doorbell rings again and again, and each time Dog enthusiastically answers the door. When the visitors ask “Trick or treat,” Dog answers, “Treat, of course” and then takes the candy. (His accumulating pile is awe-inspiring.) In the final chapter, the pals are out trick-or-treating. At the house they approach, a person dressed as a ghost answers the door. The ghost refuses to give them any treats, as they are not properly costumed. But the trick is on him, because Dog and Bear are certainly dressed up—as each other! All the elements that have made these series titles such a hit are here: a generous trim size, brightly colored illustrations executed with acrylics and ink against generous white space and easy-to-read, dialogue-driven text. It’s equally appealing as a read-aloud for the preschool set or as a well-formatted reader for children practicing their new skills.

Seeger’s tricks are readers’ treats. (Early reader/picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-632-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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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. 29, 2018

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


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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