Nicely crafted comedy—and the Blobfish gets his wish.

BLOBFISH THROWS A PARTY

Pity poor Blobfish, a bottom-dweller who goes without light, friends, and, forsooth, delicious treats. Time for a “DEEP–SEA PARTY!”

Blobfish is aptly named: he’s got a beezer like a potato, a red-lipsticked frown, a sickly pink pallor. Blobfish has the blues. But our protagonist has pluck. He shouts out that he’s throwing a “DEEP–SEA PARTY! BRING A TREAT TO SHARE!” The sound waves make it to the mermaids, who hear “Cheap, free party! Sling on a sheet to wear.” Yes, it’s a game of Telephone, and this telephone is broken. The dancers hear: “Be really arty! Swing your feet in the air!” The kids outside hear: “Be a smarty! Fling your UNDERWEAR!” Yeah, well, OK—underwear—but that underwear just happens to foil the attack by candy-seeking extraterrestrials in a flying saucer. Then everyone retraces the Telephone call until they find Blobfish, still down in the friendless, treatless dark…but nevermore. Caton keeps the spirited artwork in concatenation with the crazy pleasure of Paul’s chain of transformations. The participants are an entirely natural mix of black, brown, white, boy, girl, and lots of animals of indeterminate gender and ethnicity but great variety. The whole package feels nicely wrapped, the wrapping doesn’t try to get fancy, and the package isn’t too big or small. Pleasingly proportional.

Nicely crafted comedy—and the Blobfish gets his wish. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0422-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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