Budding explorers may find inspiration for their own gatherings and maps.

MAGNOLIA’S MAGNIFICENT MAP

From the Walnut Animal Society series

The six members of the Walnut Animal Society are gathering for their monthly Society Soirée, but will Magnolia the Bunny be finished with her presentation in time?

All the friends are pitching in to help with the setup, and all are excited…except for Magnolia. It’s taken months for the rabbit cartographer to explore and gather photos for her latest map, but there’s still a blank spot right in the middle. Margaux the Kitty offers to accompany Magnolia on her final foray, but the mountain they find in the map’s blank spot is steep and rather daunting. How will they reach the top? Luckily, Chester the Raccoon’s fishing hole is partway up the slope, and together the three friends push, pull, and boost one another to the top, where they find a magnificent waterfall and a perfect swimming hole. After enjoying the water, Magolia finishes just in time for the soirée, where she impresses all her friends with her map of their favorite places. Bradshaw’s follow-up to Henry’s Bright Idea (2016) extends her line of handmade stuffed toys. The anthropomorphized characters are drawn with long limbs and simple faces, their eyebrows and mouths carrying much of the emotional weight. It can be difficult, however, to tell species from the illustrations, especially Ruthie the Deer. Indeed, aside from coloration and the shape of the ears, all the heads are identical.

Budding explorers may find inspiration for their own gatherings and maps. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944903-12-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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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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