CHESTER

Mélanie Watt is NOT the author of this book—Chester, her plump calico cat with the big red marker, is. Mouse is NOT the star of the story. Chester uses his red marker to edit the story, sending Mouse on a vacation: “Hasta la vista, Mousie!” Mouse returns from Mexico with a big bulldog. Chester uses the power of the pen to make the dog vegetarian. Mélanie and Mouse try to take back control, but Chester edits himself a perfectly Chester-filled day. Mélanie rains on his parade, so Chester writes THE END. When Mélanie capitulates and makes Chester the star, he’s not the least bit happy with the wardrobe. Canadian creator of Scaredy Squirrel, Watt has concocted an excellent and decidedly silly addition to the meta-textual picture-book canon. Chester is a cheeky and delightful author/hero. He’s even conveniently marked a place on the cover of his book for an award sticker. Highly recommended. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-55453-140-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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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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