Read it with a little fibber and just laugh and enjoy.

DING DONG! GORILLA!

The mayhem begins with a pizza delivery, but blame it all on the gorilla.

The inclination to deny culpability is a universal one, and young children are especially good at it. So when there’s mischief afoot, a small boy with a very inventive imagination places all the responsibility on a mysterious gorilla who manages to absent himself just as mother appears on the scene. After all, how else to explain toys and DVDs scattered about, crayon drawings on the wall, a pile of clothes on the floor, a broken window and furniture, a chocolate-covered kitchen and other assorted disasters? He describes each episode, emphasizing his own complete innocence, and follows with “But that’s not the bad news,” indicating there’s worse to come. That is left to the conclusion and an empty pizza box. Robinson builds the action with one hilarious explanation after another, seamlessly partnered with Lord’s digitally rendered illustrations that fly across the pages. The little antihero’s facial expressions indicate that he is appropriately appalled and concerned by this gorilla’s outlandish behavior. The gorilla, on the other hand, seems to genuinely enjoy his exploits. The text is peppered with a smorgasbord of typefaces that grow larger and bolder as the events grow more improbable.

Read it with a little fibber and just laugh and enjoy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-730-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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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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