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

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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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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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