An appealing and appropriate addition to the nature shelf in the preschool and early elementary grades.

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MR. MCGINTY'S MONARCHS

Mr. McGinty and his dog, Sophie, perform a heroic monarch rescue.

When the monarch caterpillars' host plants on the roadside are cut down, Mr. McGinty gathers the tiny creatures, houses them properly in aquariums, and shares them with schoolchildren who nurture them until they grow into butterflies and can fly away. This simple storyline serves as an introduction to the monarch life cycle for very young readers and listeners. Beginning with endpapers showing the monarch life cycle, a variety of other butterflies, a few children’s drawings, and an artfully placed ticket to a zoo butterfly pavilion, cheerful and detailed illustrations (probably watercolor and ink) enliven the story and add important information. One page shows the well-equipped aquarium (the word “terrarium” is never used). On another, a series of vignettes demonstrates a monarch’s journey from tiny caterpillar to chrysalis to the still-weak, just-emerged butterfly, providing a climactic moment. This is followed by two celebratory scenes: Mr. McGinty, Sophie, the children, and their teachers go to a park to release their now-strong butterflies and a double-page spread is filled with monarchs flying away. Finally, two pages of backmatter clearly and simply explain the relationship between monarchs and their milkweed host plants and the monarch migration. Even this text is aimed at young readers.

An appealing and appropriate addition to the nature shelf in the preschool and early elementary grades. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58536-612-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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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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