While the vocabulary is certainly easy and limited (alone and chief are the two hardest words), beginning readers will have...

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FIREMAN FRED

From the I Like to Read series

A title for beginning readers, this entry in the I Like to Read series follows Fireman Fred from the firehouse, out on a call and back again.

The napping Fred, asleep in his gear on what appears to be a wooden table with wheels, his hat on the floor beside him, is awoken by the fire alarm. The firefighters rush to the truck: “ ‘Run! Run,’ calls the chief.” Arriving at a house with bright orange flames coming out the upper window, the firefighters get the hose and extinguish the fire. They then rescue a woman’s cat (“Mew, mew”) from a tree and try to find the owner of a yipping dog. Failing that, Fred rides back to the firehouse with the dog, and the two curl up together on a real bed for a nap, though Fred’s gear is still either on him or scattered on the floor. Indeed, firefighting purists will cringe at Reed’s trademark gouache artwork. Her firefighters, rather than looking confident and professional, seem disorganized and even dismayed, their arms flailing about. There is no talk of taking care of gear nor anything about fire safety, and sadly, firefighting is reduced to putting out fires and rescuing cats stuck in trees.

While the vocabulary is certainly easy and limited (alone and chief are the two hardest words), beginning readers will have heard enough stories about firefighters to spot the problems. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2658-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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