Fans of Jenny Slate’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2011) will find a kindred spirit in the stalwart glacier that eats...

CECIL THE PET GLACIER

The oft-told tale of a child who yearns for a pet and a creature that craves a human gets a new twist when the latter is a baby glacier.

This chip—off a block named Cecilsmater—latches on to Ruby during a family vacation in Norway. The child’s classmates already taunt her about her unusual parents, so she really doesn't need a glacier tagging along behind her. Mrs. Small designs tiaras; Mr. Small creates topiaries. These artsy adults also tango on the front lawn, leaving Ruby mortified. Her main consolation is derived from the companionship of “The Three Jennifers,” dolls that look and dress exactly like Ruby. She shuns the loyal ice floe and ignores her parents’ encouragement, until Cecil performs a dramatic doll rescue during a thunderstorm—at great personal peril. Harvey’s alliteration adds humor to this saga of tension ’twixt the generations. “ ‘Welcome, Smalls,’ a blue-haired man named Sven sa[ys] severely,” when the family registers for snowmobiles in Horfensnufen. Potter’s watercolor caricatures, with their tiny feet and restrained demeanors, enact their story in scenes with skewed perspectives and strong diagonals, choices that heighten the absurdity. Ultimately, Ruby learns to appreciate her pet’s coolness; consequently, she attracts a new friend, and in her newfound happiness, she relates more lovingly to her family.

Fans of Jenny Slate’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2011) will find a kindred spirit in the stalwart glacier that eats pebbles and wears a tiara. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86773-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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 first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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