Bank on fun with this one—it’ll rope readers in.

READ REVIEW

JACK GOES WEST

From the Jack Book series , Vol. 4

That bad bunny Jack is back—and he’s gone out West!

Jack and the Lady arrive at the dude ranch for a three-day stay. Slim, the gold-toothed ranch hand, immediately takes a liking to the Lady. He calls her “ma’am” and kisses her hand, which makes Jack mad. That night, a bell sounds the alarm at the bank next to the ranch. The Lady goes to investigate only to find that Slim thwarted the theft but was unable to capture the bandit. A wanted poster reveals the bandit’s long ears and scowling eyes. Could it really be Jack? Barnett and Pizzoli are in apple-pie order in this Western for emerging readers. The laugh-out-loud mystery unfolds over six chapters, breathing humor into genre tropes. With a vocabulary of around 150 words and multiple sentences per page, the text is a bit more complex than earlier series entries. The creators’ successful subversion of moralistic primers will inevitably delight readers (though grown-ups may find the moral ambiguity unsettling). Jack at Bat, which publishes simultaneously, gives Jack a chance to settle the score between rival baseball teams—provided he can follow the rules of the game. The humans in Jack Goes West predominantly present white with the exception of the Law Lady, a woman of color, but those in Jack at Bat are diverse in skin tone. As with the other books in the series, each book ends with drawing instructions.

Bank on fun with this one—it’ll rope readers in. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11388-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more