Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time.

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MUMMY CAT

“Deep within this maze of stone, / a creature wakes up, all alone.”

On this evening in Egypt, a cat that has been mummified and placed inside a pyramid awakens “for the first time in a hundred years.” Will he find what he is looking for? Ewert has created a compelling story that masterfully melds introductory information about the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification, its royalty, the people’s reverence of cats, and a look at hieroglyphics. As the cat explores the tomb, he fondly remembers his owner, Hatshepsut, and all they did together. Brown expertly employs a mix of media to create illustrations in a palette of soft browns with pops of blue, yellow, and orange hues. Paintings on the pyramid’s walls depict not only the cat and the queen’s relationship, but also the perils of being an Egyptian ruler. The mummy cat wanders, lonely. “This cold, golden coffin—is this all he gets? / Where is the girl he can never forget?” Readers will smile as the page turn reveals the mummy queen beginning to emerge from her sarcophagus. For those who would like to learn more, the backmatter includes succinct yet helpful notes on “Mummies, Cats, Queens, and Hieroglyphs.” A seek-and-find feature with sets of hieroglyphs invites further investigation as well.

Elegantly designed for young fans of ancient Egypt, this sweet ghost story of a pet’s love for its owner transcends time. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-34082-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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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

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