Pair with a book that will teach children alternatives to unleashing their own inner Fluffys.



Unlike Molly Bang’s Sophie, when Claire gets angry, there are some significant consequences.

The day starts out like any other, with Claire and her stuffed white rabbit, Fluffy, looking forward to many things. But when a “tiny button” pops off Fluffy’s outfit (which matches Claire’s), then the box of Super Choco Puffs cereal is found to be empty, then all the neighborhood kids want to swing at the same time as Claire…readers can see Claire’s gaze turn a little more manic, her teeth and hands clench a little tighter with each new frustration. The last straw, though, is when it starts to pour just as it’s finally Claire and Fluffy’s turn on the swing. Her anger rages so wildly that Fluffy grows to be 50 feet tall and goes on a rampage against all that has frustrated Claire: the tiny-button factory, the cereal delivery trucks, the beloved park swingset. But just as soon as this last is smooshed to bits, Claire regains control and is remorseful. Her friends at the park are understanding and tell her “We’ve all been there before.” Claire, Fluffy in tow, puts all back to rights. Boldt’s digital illustrations keep the focus on Claire’s emotions, her expressiveness leaving no doubt in readers’ minds as to how she is feeling. The fact that Fluffy’s face never changes in the slightest adds welcome humor. Claire has straight, black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin; other kids at the park are diverse.

Pair with a book that will teach children alternatives to unleashing their own inner Fluffys. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4887-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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. 29, 2018

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


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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