HOPPER'S TREETOP ADVENTURE

A modest adventure involving an ambitious bunny, a tall tree, and some hazelnuts. One fine morning, Hopper informs his mother that he's heading for the woods to snack on hazelnuts. She gently reminds him that nuts aren't found in spring, and that hares don't usually eat nuts—``I suppose it's because we can't climb trees.'' Hopper pads off to the woods anyway, where he meets a squirrel. Hopper helps the squirrel locate his lost nut horde, and the squirrel shows Hopper how to get up into a tree where they can eat the nuts in peace. Getting down is another matter, but with the help of a friendly woodpecker and an accommodating stag, Hopper makes it back home with a hazelnut surprise for his mother, and a story about climbing trees as well: ``I don't think I'll do it again. It was too scary.'' That comes as a bit of a surprise, after all the fun he has had. Despite the overprotective edge, Pfister's peaceable kingdom is as tidy and secure as ever, a safe haven to which children can turn when the everyday world gets too confusing. The soft watercolors wash the whole event with angelic light. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-55858-680-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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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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