Both simple and complex and always with humor: a worthy addition to the telling-time shelf.

READ REVIEW

MONKEY TIME

Round and round his clocklike tree, Monkey chases minutes in this tale about telling time.

Monkey slumbers away as orange, fruitlike balls happily march up his tree. When the first awakens him, their 60-minute game begins. Twelve branches create the tree-clock’s face, with Monkey in the middle. As the cheerful balls—embodied minutes—run the canopy’s circumference, Monkey’s arm sweeps clockwise, attempting to catch each cheeky sphere. After an hour, the minutes fly away—and 60 new merry minutes begin the game afresh. Colored or painted papers cut out and arranged to make forms create a style reminiscent of Eric Carle’s. But while Carle’s handmade collages mirror the natural, organic lessons of his text, Hall’s digital collage is used to teach precision and time—an apt match of technique and content. As always, Hall uses design to great effect, and the simple style allows readers to focus on the growing narrative of the accumulation of minutes. Playful, number-chart endpages and rhythmic, repetitive lines for reading aloud (“Chase me over. / Chase me down. / Chase me all the way around”) complete the fun.

Both simple and complex and always with humor: a worthy addition to the telling-time shelf. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-238302-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

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. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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