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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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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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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