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

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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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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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But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave...

RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL

Rufus Leroy Williams III is determined to learn how to read, but can he convince Principal Lipid to allow a pig in school?

Rufus makes the best of his illiteracy by imagining his own stories to go with the pictures in his favorite book, but still he longs to read. The tiny pig knows just how to solve his problem, though: With a backpack, he can go to school. But Principal Lipid seems to think it takes more than a backpack to attend school—if you are a pig, that is, since pigs are sure to wreak all sorts of havoc in school: track mud, start food fights, etc. Rufus decides a lunchbox is just the ticket, but the principal feels differently. Maybe a blanket for naptime? Or promises not to engage in specific behaviors? Nope. But the real necessary items were with Rufus all along—a book and the desire to learn to read it. Gorbachev’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations emphasize Rufus’ small size, making both his desire and the principal’s rejection seem that much larger. Parents and teachers beware: The humorous pages of imagined, naughty behavior may be more likely to catch children’ eyes than Rufus’ earnestly good behavior.

But it is the parting sentence that will hit home with everyone: “But Rufus loved storytime most of all… / …because it gave him room to dream.” (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0416-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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