Plumb funny, fer sure.

READ REVIEW

COWPOKE CLYDE AND DIRTY DAWG

Gadzooks! Cowpoke Clyde has talents galore, but he just can’t corral that big ol’ dirty Dawg into the washin’ tub, and all Clyde’s efforts lead to some mighty hilarious mischief in this cumulative tale set in the old West.

Pitch-perfect rhyming text bounces along with peppy phrases telling the tale of a cowboy who likes to keep things clean and tidy. Clyde tries tactic after tactic to catch his dog for a scrub down, each new method adding another layer of mayhem to the scene, with a lassoed hog, wet chickens and a kicking mule adding to the hilarious hijinks. Finally Clyde takes a bath in the moonlight by himself while singing a “cowpoke tune” beneath a full moon, and that is the winning lure that gets the dirty Dawg into the washtub. Illustrations in acrylics and colored pencils use deep, saturated colors and exaggerated proportions to dramatic effect, with uproarious scenes of screaming cats, a flailing mule and a hog ready to leap right off the page. The frenetic activity is offset by the moonlit scenes of Clyde and Dawg in the tub, with a satisfying conclusion in which all the characters join them for a bath. This is a story that begs to be read aloud with a twangy drawl, perhaps as part of a Western or farm-themed storytime.

Plumb funny, fer sure. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-23993-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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