WAITING FOR WINGS

With each spread opening to an explosion of bright, gorgeous color, Ehlert (Market Day, 2000, etc.) takes a close-up look at the life stages of four butterflies, all of which are seen amidst a profusion of the plant life on which they subsist. Several shorter split pages, lining up with the stems and flowers on the standard-sized pages add extra measures of suspense and surprise as the author tracks her subjects' physical changes. The next set includes long, narrow pages that follow the flight to the flower garden. There, readers will need sunglasses to view the extravagantly hued varieties of butterfly-attracting flowers. Finished with the story, fanciers will find two pages on identification, more detailed descriptive information, and advice about starting a butterfly garden. (But don't remove those sunglasses.) Unfortunately, the main text—a singsong jingle—doesn't measure up to the eye-popping art. In order to serve the rhyme, Ehlert repeatedly has her butterflies "eat" nectar, even though, as explained in the appendix, they actually drink it—but this still makes a riveting introduction to the science and (visually at least) the poetry of these splendidly attired insects. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202608-8

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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Hee haw.

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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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