Puns and foolery pitched just right for newly independent readers.

READ REVIEW

COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS!

Zemke provides more farmyard huggermugger (George Shannon’s Wise Acres, 2004) to illustrate Degman’s versified tale of animals trying to substitute at sunrise for an absent rooster.

Deciding that he needs a week at the beach to catch up on his sleep, Rooster enlists fellow livestock to crow each morning to wake Farmer McPeeper while he’s gone. But despite the best efforts of Sheep (“Her cock-a-doodle baaaaaaaa / didn’t travel too faaa. / In fact, she made barely a peep”), Cow (“udder disaster!”) and the rest, McPeeper sleeps on. Looking properly popeyed and panicky in the cartoon scenes, the other animals welcome Rooster back at last—only to learn that he’s caught a cold and can barely wheeze. As in her prizewinning light verse for 1 Zany Zoo (illustrated by Colin Jack, 2010), the author displays a gift for rhymes and language that is clever rather than forced. She also skips the obvious (trite) solution of a general hullabaloo and just has Rooster leave a whispered “cock-a-doodle-doo” on McPeeper’s bedside phone—a technology assist that displays pleasing ingenuity. Farmer McPeeper wakes up, feeling like he’s slept for a week…which he has.

Puns and foolery pitched just right for newly independent readers. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-939547-07-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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