Simply beautiful.

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ALL WE KNOW

Echoing Ecclesiastes, Ashman explores ordinary miracles through the seasons.

“A cloud knows how to rain. / The thunder, how to boom. // A bulb knows when it’s time to sleep / and when it’s time to bloom.” The gentle rhymes continue as the pages turn, the seasons changing from spring to summer, then fall to winter. Seeds sprout, lambs bleat, waves tumble to the shore, swallows migrate, oak leaves fall, bears hibernate, and hares change to their winter coats. “And—not so very long ago, / on a moonlit night— / you knew how to tell me / that the time was finally right. // The days know how to march along / no matter what we do. / And I know how to love you. / No one taught me… // I just knew.” Ashman’s poetic verses are perfectly complemented by Dyer’s watercolor, acrylic, pencil, and gouache illustrations, which portray the natural world realistically, from the eyelashes on the lamb and the fuzz on the bee to the needles on the evergreen. A curly-haired blond cherub with wonderfully chubby pink cheeks is the focus, enjoying the wonders of nature. When the thunder booms and the waves crash, mother is there to soothe and protect, love, and provide a lap for reading this very book. 

Simply beautiful. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-168958-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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