Hot as the “bully” topic may be, this has nothing to offer on it aside from facile wish fulfillment.

CHICK-O-SAURUS REX

Inspired by his dinosaur ancestry, a small chick drives off a wolf and so turns bullies into friends in this bland episode.

Bullies Little Pig, Little Sheep and Little Donkey refuse him entry to the treehouse unless he can prove that he’s “brave and mighty.” A nascent rooster’s crow doesn’t persuade them that he or his family meet their qualifications, and they post a “No Chickens Allowed” sign on their tree. Little Chick pesters his dad into helping him dig up an “ancient ancestor” who turns out to be T. Rex. Proclaiming “I AM CHICK-O-SAURUS REX!” in a full-spread bellow, Little Chick races back to the tree with a giant bone, arriving just in time to send a startled wolf scooting off. Huzzah. After a general chorus of “For He’s a Mighty Brave Chicken,” the erstwhile bullies throw the treehouse open to all the farm animals. The thick-lined, very simple cartoon illustrations have just about as much nuance as the plotline.

Hot as the “bully” topic may be, this has nothing to offer on it aside from facile wish fulfillment. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5186-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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