Best Wishes is the company that collects wished-upon fountain coins, blown-out birthday candles and wishbones, granting the...

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GONE WISHING

The inner workings of the wish-fulfillment business are exposed in this imaginative romp, which features lush fantasy art in the service of a fairly conventional coming-of-age story.

Best Wishes is the company that collects wished-upon fountain coins, blown-out birthday candles and wishbones, granting the wishes of those who've pinned their hopes on these objects. But Jacob, the tiny, sad-looking genie who's the son of the company's director, has no talent for granting such wishes. The story of how he uses ingenuity and invention instead of magic to make a child's wish come true is enhanced most by beautifully gloomy art that wouldn't look out of place in a Tim Burton animated feature. The clever animation and the interactive elements (throwing coins into a fountain with the flick of a finger or a neat set of mirrors that refract light and create a playable drum set) are entertaining. The story itself is full of great surprises (a "Shooting Star Service" for wish delivery) and fascinating peripheral characters who, sadly, get little more than a single page to shine. The nice thing about a story overstuffed with entertaining bits it doesn't fully explore is the possibility that more stories will spring from this universe in the future.

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Gone Wishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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