This piggie will find her followers among the graduates of Peppa Pig and the like.

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THE MARVELOUS, AMAZING, PIG-TASTIC GRACIE LAROO!

From the Gracie LaRoo series

Meet Gracie LaRoo, a sweet swine who loves to swim.

In the first of this collection of four pig tales, young Gracie suffers performance anxiety at the Pig Jubilee, a synchronized-swimming contest. She doesn’t want to let her slightly older teammates down, but this is her first competition. When her purple spangly bag (with all her swimming gear) goes missing, Gracie is even more distracted. She perseveres (finding the bag) and gains the confidence to help her team win. Next, thanks to her swimming skills, she’s asked to be in a Hog Heaven Studios picture with famed actress Tilda Swinetune. Gracie is anxious again, but her creativity solves a problem on the set, and movie magic ensues. Later, Gracie and her troupe run into problems performing on a cruise ship, and then she returns to her alma trotter to speak to the piglets about her success. Qualey’s easily read, short tales for those just attempting chapters will satisfy, though more-mature readers may find that the facile solutions to problems don’t hold their interest. The stories exude girl power, however, since the tales are full of confident female…pigs. Litten’s colored-pencil illustrations grace nearly every page and match the text in tone and energy.

This piggie will find her followers among the graduates of Peppa Pig and the like. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5158-1458-0

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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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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