An affirming animal tale with engaging writing and lovable characters.

THE TENT MOUSE AND THE RV MOUSE

Two mouse cousins disagree about the best way to camp in this picture book.

Thomas Tent-Mouse and his cousin Harvey RV-Mouse both enjoy outdoor fun, but each believes that his is “the only way to camp.” When Thomas invites Harvey on a trip, he says they’ll be fine. Harvey doubts this, “but he loved his cousin so he agreed.” By day, they have a delightful time, but Harvey is nervous hearing all the night noises, and the tent leaks on him during a rainstorm. On their next trip, Thomas agrees to do it Harvey’s way because he also loves his cousin. They have wonderful adventures, but at night, Thomas feels cut off from nature, even when it rains. Finally, the cousins agree that during their next escapade, Thomas will stay in his tent and Harvey in his RV, and they’ll both have a good time. Sponsler, as in her first book, Goodnight, Campsite (2015), helps prepare kids for the outdoor experience here. More than that, the tale celebrates friendship and acknowledges that tastes vary: “It’s okay to like different things.” The story charms through effective repetition, evocative writing, and appreciation for nature. Gutkovskiy provides lovely, skillful ink-and-watercolor illustrations full of expression and appealing details.

An affirming animal tale with engaging writing and lovable characters.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-951633-01-1

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Kids Camping Books

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

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?

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more