From the beaver’s coat to the tiger lily’s petals to the snakeskin, this fish tale is a keeper.

READ REVIEW

FISH HAD A WISH

From the I Like to Read series

Take a conventional story, add a new art technique—and voilà, a striking picture book is born.

Fish has a wish to be some creature other than what he is: a bird, so he can fly high in the sky; a turtle, so he can nap on a sunny rock; a skunk, so he can make a big stink; or a bobcat, a bee, a beaver, a butterfly or a snake. But when a mayfly lands on the water, Fish eats it in one bite and declares: “That was so good!…I wish to stay a fish.” Part of the publisher’s I Like to Read series, the book's eye-catching artwork will fascinate young readers (and adults). The double-page spreads have wood-grain backgrounds that dramatically grab attention and appropriately evoke Fish’s woodland pond environment. Some of the "digi-wood" illustrations are more invigorating than others, but all of them are captivating. Striations and hashes of color create patterns and textures. This technique is new for Garland, and he has cast his net with vigor and aplomb.

From the beaver’s coat to the tiger lily’s petals to the snakeskin, this fish tale is a keeper. (Picture book/early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2394-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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