BAXTER, THE PIG WHO WANTED TO BE KOSHER

The title says it all: When Baxter hears about Shabbat, when “the candles gleam and glow and dance while our sweetest voices lift in song,” from an old man at the bus stop, of course he wants to be part of it—but how? The young man he meets the next week tells him he can’t: “You’re not kosher!” In pursuit of kosher, Baxter eats kosher dills, pigs out on challah and teaches himself to moo. Finally a kindly rabbi leads him to the truth: “But,” she asks, “why would you want to get eaten?” She goes on, however, to explain that “[i]t is a mitzvah to welcome a stranger,” so Baxter gets to enjoy Shabbat after all. Goldin’s photo-collage illustrations present a suitably goofy-but-sincere cartoon pig dressed in a plaid button-down Oxford shirt and locate him in an urban neighborhood that features an imposing synagogue and a kosher deli. While Snyder's glossary glides a little irresponsibly over the precise meaning of "kosher," this will nevertheless find plenty of use in Jewish homes, particularly among families in which one parent is not Jewish. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58246-315-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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