A playful, self-aware picture book that has a lot of read-aloud potential.

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A VERY LATE STORY

“Once upon a time, there was a blank page,” begins this picture book, with black type set on a white double-page spread.

On the very next double-page spread, five vaguely animallike characters in solid colors appear. Although no one knows “how they got there,” or even why, four of the five characters assume that the otherwise empty page means that they are in a book and that they need to wait for a story to begin. When the fifth character, a pink rabbit with a blue backpack, suggests they play, the others shush the rabbit, saying, “Can’t you see we’re busy?” and “There isn’t time to play.” While these four characters wait politely for the story to arrive on the recto, the pink rabbit begins to draw on the verso. Comedy ensues: The pink rabbit draws a dinosaur, a treehouse, and penguins in a hot air balloon—among other things—on the verso, while the four other characters (facing away from the verso) politely wait for the story to start. (“In the old days stories used to arrive on time,” one sighs.) Coppo’s simple storyline is reminiscent of (a slightly less absurd) Waiting for Godot; the pink rabbit’s innovative, crayon-based illustrations reinforce the importance of creating your own stories rather than waiting for them to happen.

A playful, self-aware picture book that has a lot of read-aloud potential. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-66-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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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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