Flawed, but it fills a niche that is otherwise almost empty. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

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ANIMALOGY

ANIMAL ANALOGIES

Fauna are used to teach children about analogies.

Each spread presents readers with a phrase, “this is to this, as that is to that,” accompanied by illustrations emphasizing that relationship. “Beaver is to build, as spider is to spin.” From the tiniest ants to the mightiest lions, animals of all sorts are compared by size, sound, way they move and how they are classified. Most are solid analogies, although Berkes sometimes sacrifices word choices to make verses rhyme, and the analogies suffer. A few are not quite pathetic—“Rabbit is to nibble, as skunk is to dig”—and several seem to be worded backwards: “Amphibian is to frog as mammal is to moose.” Extensive backmatter encourages readers to further explore analogies with questions and activities that lead them to think creatively about the ways in which the animals were compared in the text. Morrison’s artwork is detailed and realistic, especially when it comes to the smaller species, each feather, fin and hair standing out in relief, though the pictures do not always fully illustrate distinctions.

Flawed, but it fills a niche that is otherwise almost empty. (Informational picture book. 4-8) 

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60718-127-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sylvan Dell

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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