Visit Mulberry Street instead of this sequel (My Humongous Hamster, 2014).

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MY HUMONGOUS HAMSTER GOES TO SCHOOL

“Bring your pet to school” day isn’t exciting enough for one young hamster owner with a big imagination…or did he imagine it?

With its perch next to a bench lined with lunches and goodies, the hamster just can’t handle the temptation; he gets out of his cage and proceeds to eat everything and then grow to huge proportions. The stern teacher “tells my hamster to sit down and behave.” The (clumsily) photo-collaged artwork shows the back of a hamster who doesn’t even fit on the page, a broken chair underneath him, and the kids around him (sitting in the same type of chair but with no desks visible) smiling. Next it’s time for music and dance class. Strangely, only girls are in this class, all dressed in pink leotards, tutus, and ballet slippers, and the hamster sports a tutu as well. He visits familiar places throughout the school until he has a meltdown. A hug from the class sets him to rights, emotionally and physically. While young readers may enjoy the sight of a giant hamster juxtaposed with the tiny kids and typical school settings, they won’t learn much about school from this young boy and his hamster, who doesn’t follow any rules or stick to the class’ schedule.

Visit Mulberry Street instead of this sequel (My Humongous Hamster, 2014). (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-140-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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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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