A paradoxically enjoyable and consternating metafictive read.

READ REVIEW

THE KINDHEARTED CROCODILE

A postmodern picture book with decidedly antiquated characterization, this Italian import may upend conventional wisdom about crocodiles, but it reinforces gender stereotypes.

The titular kindhearted crocodile longs to be a pet but knows that families will fear him; they will want puppies, goldfish and the like. In a metafictive effort to overcome this obstacle, he sneaks into a family’s home each night via the pages of a picture book (as it turns out, the very same one readers hold). While the family sleeps, it putters around the house tidying up, making breakfast and otherwise being kindhearted. The family, in turn, hides out to discover who is helping them each night, and the parents are alarmed to discover the crocodile. While the children want to keep the croc since they recognize it from their book, the “courageous father” pledges to fight it as the “frantic mother” shrieks and waves her arms about. Later, the couple has “a serious conversation,” and the mother, “who appreciated help with dishes and laundry,” sides with the children, though the father still harbors doubt. In the end, the crocodile convinces them to let him stay, brewing a pot of coffee to seal the deal. Lively illustrations evoking Quentin Blake’s style enliven the story but don’t help it overcome the text’s tired gender construction.

A paradoxically enjoyable and consternating metafictive read. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2767-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

more