Stylish and inventive and an excellent examination of point of view.

READ REVIEW

BIRDCATDOG

From the Three Story Books series

A serene suburban tableau cleverly describes the separate, exciting adventures of a bird, a cat and a dog, each the hero of its own story.

In one of these stories, a lemon-yellow bird seeks freedom from its cage and finds itself encountering fierce raptors and a curious cat. In a neighboring backyard, an orange cat craves adventure outside of its fence, meeting a wily feral opponent. Nearby, a tough-looking gray dog strives to guard its doghouse from intruders and maintain peace. Readers, be advised, don't let the seemingly simple, wordless nature of this offering fool you: This innovative charmer can be read four different ways. There is the bird's story, soaring across the top panels in bright, cheerful azure tones, which can be read alone. Similarly, there are the cat's escapades, creeping across the middle panels against a richly verdant palette, and the dog's tale, in ochre, earth tones, marching across the bottom. Each animal's adventure could be read individually, or all three could be read traditionally, left to right and then top to bottom, following each of the nine panels that occupy most of the pages. Multiple readings are not only expected, they are required.

Stylish and inventive and an excellent examination of point of view. (Graphic adventure. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-4522-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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

THE DINKY DONKEY

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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