Pfister has a following, so adults who recognize his name will likely be drawn to the (hologram-free) artwork. Others may...

ANIMAL ABC

Animal alphabet books abound, so it takes something special to make one stand out; this one doesn’t have it.

First published in Switzerland, this American adaptation highlights each animal’s characteristics in a two-line, first-person rhyme that offers a clue to the identity of the animal depicted above it. “I have scales and a toothy smile. / Just don’t call me crocodile.” Below the rhyme is the animal’s identity: ALLIGATOR. Each page features one animal illustrated in brightly colored paints set against contrasting backgrounds. Textures resembling sponge-paintings add visual interest. Many of the creatures are familiar, but others are unusual, making the guessing-game aspect hard for preschoolers: C for chameleon; J for jaguar; N for numbat; Q for quetzal; R for raven. Unfortunately, two of the animals are imaginary, which disrupts the overall formulation. U is for unicorn and X for “xylophonius”: “Made-up creatures are so much fun. / Give it a try! Can you make one?” As the book lacks backmatter, the only key to identifying the animal is in the rhyme.

Pfister has a following, so adults who recognize his name will likely be drawn to the (hologram-free) artwork. Others may want to choose from among the more classic animal ABCs. (Alphabet book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4136-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

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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Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history.

WOODLAND DREAMS

A sonorous, soporific invitation to join woodland creatures in bedding down for the night.

As in her Moon Babies, illustrated by Amy Hevron (2019), Jameson displays a rare gift for harmonious language and rhyme. She leads off with a bear: “Come home, Big Paws. / Berry picker / Honey trickster / Shadows deepen in the glen. / Lumber back inside your den.” Continuing in the same pattern, she urges a moose (“Velvet Nose”), a deer (“Tiny Hooves”), and a succession of ever smaller creatures to find their nooks and nests as twilight deepens in Boutavant’s woodsy, autumnal scenes and snow begins to drift down. Through each of those scenes quietly walks an alert White child (accompanied by an unusually self-controlled pooch), peering through branches or over rocks at the animals in the foregrounds and sketching them in a notebook. The observer’s turn comes round at last, as a bearded parent beckons: “This way, Small Boots. / Brave trailblazer / Bright stargazer / Cabin’s toasty. Blanket’s soft. / Snuggle deep in sleeping loft.” The animals go unnamed, leaving it to younger listeners to identify each one from the pictures…if they can do so before the verses’ murmurous tempo closes their eyes.

Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7063-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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