A valuable lesson, nicely and sympathetically delivered.

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WADE'S WIGGLY ANTLERS

A young deer worries about losing his antlers but learns it’s just a part of growing up.

Wade’s walking through the snow and notices that the shadow of his antlers resembles trumpets. This makes him want to march, and he leads an impromptu parade through the forest. As he marches, he feels his antlers wiggling and abruptly stops the parade to run home and show his mother. She reminds him that she had told him before that his antlers would fall off and new ones would grow in the summer. Wade decides he doesn’t want to lose his antlers so for a few days sits on the sidelines while his friends dance and play hockey and jump rope. Then he decides he can’t wait any longer and tries to remove the antlers himself; no luck. Finally, after a day of tobogganing, he discovers that his antlers are gone! And sure enough, in the summer, two bumps sprout on his head, quickly growing into a pair of bigger trumpets. Bradford’s text is substantial, bringing a bit more complexity and depth than many picture books and capturing a child’s ambivalence about maturation; readers won’t have to stretch to see the parallels between Wade’s antlers and their impending loose teeth. Battuz plays with pattern, shape, and riotous color effectively.

A valuable lesson, nicely and sympathetically delivered. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-615-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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