An invitation to be your own showman, crow your own crow, cock-a-doodle-doo with “a little warble at the beginning, and a...

A CROW OF HIS OWN

A scrawny young rooster named Clyde tries to fill the big shoes of his predecessor, Larry, in Lambert’s verbally dexterous ode to identity.

Larry the rooster brought star power to Sunrise Farm. He knew how, in the farmspun words of motherly goose Roberta, to make “quite a show of it”—“it” being the morning cock-a-doodle-doo. When Clyde pops from his crate to greet his new farm mates, all bumble-footed and insecure in the shadow of the great Larry, the other animals (minus Roberta) find him wanting: in word bubbles of disappointment, “What a worthless chicken.” Clyde endeavors to top Larry at Larry’s game—two-stepping, riding a unicycle, parachuting into the dawn—and he makes a hash of it, because Clyde isn’t Larry. Clyde must find his own voice, and he does so with a little help from Roberta. Where Lambert hoes a row of her own is in the wording of the story. No “said” or “asked” makes an appearance. Rather, readers discover “stammered” and “soothed,” “assured” and “chirped,” “mused” and “fussed.” Costello’s pen-and-watercolor illustrations are a happy vehicle for the story, with colors from deep in the big crayon box, expressive penwork and a pleasing hominess to the farm.

An invitation to be your own showman, crow your own crow, cock-a-doodle-doo with “a little warble at the beginning, and a crescendo at the ‘doodle’...and oh, that raspy growl.” (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-447-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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