SCAREDY SQUIRREL GOES CAMPING

From the Scaredy Squirrel series

The world’s most timorous rodent returns for another nonadventure.

Scaredy Squirrel has no desire to go camping—“the rugged wilderness” is just too darn scary. Why, out in the wilderness he might encounter quicksand, the Three Bears, penguins and zippers, among other perils. So he resolves to enjoy camping vicariously, via his new television. But electrical outlets are few and far between in the woods, and it looks like Scaredy will have to venture out through the wilderness to a nearby campground to plug in. He assembles his survival kit (“really long extension cord,” cement, dictionary and fan), dons his “wilderness outfit” (zipper-free), makes a plan, plots a route, does some calisthenics and, when conditions are right (sun = go; volcanic activity = cancel), sets out. All’s going well until—gasp—a penguin (a mini-golf fixture) appears in his path! Scaredy does what he does best: panics and then plays dead. When he wakes, it’s to a glorious sunset and the realization that the wilderness may not be so bad after all. Watt and Scaredy hit all the right notes, hewing to the now-familiar formula. While the execution may no longer be startlingly original, that’s not what Scaredy or his fans are after. The irony of a wilderness-fearing squirrel that lives in the wilderness is especially funny in a camping-avoidance context, and the ending is nothing less than sublime.

Welcome back, Scaredy . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-894786-86-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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