A rough start to both a friendship and a series.

READ REVIEW

BAT AND SLOTH HANG AROUND

From the Bat and Sloth series

A fruit bat and a two-toed sloth slowly make friends in this opening volume in an early reader series.

As the sun sets, readers meet Bat, who is sleeping upside down in a rainforest. When he awakens, he’s unpleasantly surprised to find another animal in his tree: “This is my branch!” The newcomer is in favor of sharing, though, and Sloth introduces himself—slowly, of course. Sloth sees the two as similar, but Bat points out all their differences. In the next chapter, the two enjoy fruit together before unsuccessfully playing some games. Tag clearly is not a game in Sloth’s wheelhouse, and when Bat hides, Sloth falls asleep before he can count to 10 and begin seeking. In Chapter 3, each of the new friends saves the other from calamity and is a hero. The final chapter features an accident, some reluctant apologizing, and forgiveness. The Level 2 reader uses brief chapters, short sentences, easy words, and a bit of repetition to strengthen beginning readers’ skills. Braun’s illustrations focus on the branch the new friends share, a soft blue sky and deep green in the trees highlighting the fact that the animals are nocturnal. The book’s weak spot is character development. In both the pictures and the text Sloth seems adorable and sweet while Bat comes off as a rather brash friend. Readers may not want to spend more time with him.

A rough start to both a friendship and a series. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0585-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more