A new twist on a timeless classic for brand-new readers.

THE STORY OF CLIFFORD

Clifford’s back for a BIG adventure!

Clifford the Big Red Dog, an iconic children’s-literature character since 1963, is making a reappearance on television and in books for children, complete with a new look and a new ability, one even more powerful than his big size and big heart. For the first time, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth can talk to each other and share stories. These two have always gone on adventures together, but their newfound communication honors the bonds many children have with their pets. It’s Birdwell Island’s birthday, and Clifford leads a special parade in the island’s honor, a parade that grows and grows as all the residents join in, bringing balloons, banners, and confetti. It’s a BIG, Clifford-sized parade! Birdwell Island is full of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors—embracing and celebrating inclusion and diversity. Themes of togetherness, celebration, collaboration, and community run deep through this book, and, if previous Clifford properties are any indication, they will through the forthcoming television show as well. Lively illustrations seek to honor the traditions of Clifford by including both the slightly rough and scratchy style Norman Bridwell brought to the original books as well as the smoother, brighter style of the previous TV show while also offering novel palette colors and facial features to characters new and old.

A new twist on a timeless classic for brand-new readers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57713-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

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THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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