A few hearty squawks and a brisk bit of exercise—what better way to start the day? (Picture book. 5-7)

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GOOD MORNING TO ME!

Unlike her snoozing friend Mouse, Beatrix is a morning person…er, parrot, who rises both in full voice and fully ready to torment the household cat.

Beatrix knows she’s supposed to be quiet, but she loves everyone and sometimes just can’t keep it in. Poor Mouse—the slumbering rodent is blasted awake by the parrot’s hearty “GOOD MORNING, MOUSE!” and then must grab a fork and spring to the rescue when the feathered fiend proves a touch too slow making an escape after waking Kitty (a fat and wonderfully disgruntled-looking Siamese) with a doggy “Rrrruuff!” Nor is the morning rumpus over as, following a furniture-upsetting skitter through the house with Gracie the beagle, the pernicious parrot needs rescue again after falling into the goldfish bowl! Beatrix’s irrepressible character stands out as brightly as her green and gold plumage in the loosely drawn illustrations, which Judge has otherwise toned down with washes of pale color and sometimes indistinct background details. Mouse’s enraged response to Beatrix’s chipper “What should we play next?” results in an apology, a (brief) return to peace and quiet, and an affectionate closing nuzzle. Young children who share Beatrix’s morning hyperactivity, or even just her flexible relationship with the idea of an “indoor voice,” will certainly relate…as will, without doubt, their parents.

A few hearty squawks and a brisk bit of exercise—what better way to start the day? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0369-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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