Quiet thinkers will enjoy meeting a character like themselves, and others may gain a better understanding of those who crave...

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TOO NOISY!

Everyone in the Bungle family squeaks, squawks and squelches too much for Sam, the quiet, dreamy middle-child creature (the Bungles look vaguely like raccoons).

Sam is bombarded by noise in Doyle's captivatingly onomatopoeic free verse. Vere illustrates sound as colorful bubbles and bursts that issue forth from each family member. Against the paper-bag–brown background, readers see pink upside-down teardrop shapes coming from Mama, a purple balloon of sound from Granny’s knitting needles and a spiky orange blast from sister Bella. But poor Sam has a squiggly tornado of black lines above his head. He needs to get away from this noise. “So he upped / and so he offed / and so he wandered / to the woods.” At first all is bliss, as he finds himself surrounded by clouds, trees and a small stream. Bunnies and birds emit tiny sound shapes in pink, yellow and blue. Sam is inspired to create some rhymes, but gradually it gets dark. The deepening purple scenes become increasingly scary as he feels “a flitter-flutter / flap around his face” and then a “slippy-slidy / [slither] / down his neck!” Young ones will see that these threatening things are only benign nocturnal creatures. Predictably, Sam must resort to the behavior he usually loathes and yells for help. Slowly he hears his family come for him as a double-page spread shows him happily engulfed in a “HURRICANE OF NOISE!”

Quiet thinkers will enjoy meeting a character like themselves, and others may gain a better understanding of those who crave a little peace. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6226-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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