Guaranteed hysterics for readers with strong stomachs

I LOVE LEMONADE

“Revenge is a drink best served cold,” reads the book’s ominous epigraph.

Quirky Turkey, who was tricked by Little Baa Baa into eating poo in Baa Baa Smart Sheep (2016), wants revenge. Billy the goat offers a glass of yellowish liquid (likely this won’t end well for someone). Little Baa Baa happens by, and after commenting on the heat of the day, Turkey offers Baa Baa a cool glass of lemonade. Little Baa Baa loves lemonade, especially fresh-squeezed lemonade. And this lemonade is free, according to Turkey, to turkeys—er, and sheep. Little Baa Baa is suspicious; it looks like pee. As in the earlier book, the action is all in the fast-paced dialogue: “ ‘So you’re sure it’s lemonade?’ / ‘Yes, it’s lemonade.’ / ‘That’s fresh.’ / ‘And squeezed.’ / ‘And delicious.’ / ‘And free!’ / ‘To sheep.’ / ‘And turkeys!’ / ‘YOU’RE a turkey!’ / ‘I AM a turkey!’ / ‘Who likes lemonade?’ / ‘Who LOVES lemonade!’ / ‘Then…why don’t you help yourself?’ / ‘Don’t mind if I do!’ ” Poor Quirky Turkey, tricked again. Little Baa Baa offers a cookie in consolation (you don’t want to know). The Sommersets offer another tale of mischief told mostly in dialogue bubbles that is sure to make parents groan and …um…wee ones double over with laughter. Both the earth-toned, cartoon critters on slightly paler earth-toned solid backgrounds and precise sense of comedic pacing again bring Willems to mind.

Guaranteed hysterics for readers with strong stomachs . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8067-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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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