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SCAREDY SQUIRREL PREPARES FOR HALLOWEEN

A SAFETY GUIDE FOR SCAREDIES

Although fans of Scaredy’s hypercontrolled world will eagerly devour each page, this may not be the best title to introduce...

Popular Scaredy Squirrel sports fangs as he beams from the cover of this “Safety Guide for Scaredies.”

Following the format of his previous safety guide (Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas, 2012), a preface warns that “Halloween is creeping up quickly, and it’s time to gather the courage to face the ghoulish festivities!” Eight brief chapters follow, offering over-the-top advice on decorations, costumes, trick-or-treating, candy and party planning. Of course, “if all else fails…play dead.” The mix of diagrams (how to make it through a haunted house as quickly as possible), charts (scariness factor of costumes), lists (“unscary black items to decorate with” include Black Forest cakes and bowling balls) and step-by-step instructions (how to carve a friendly-faced pumpkin) offer kids new ways of reading information. Good tips (inspecting candy before eating it) and comically bad (play gloomy organ music to slow the tempo of a party) intermingle and are delivered with the same earnest tone by the always-cautious, comically overprepared and endearing squirrel. Watt certainly has hit on a formula that provides readers with a familiar but guaranteed-to-be-hilarious experience.

Although fans of Scaredy’s hypercontrolled world will eagerly devour each page, this may not be the best title to introduce a child to the series; start them with one of his stories instead. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-894786-87-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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