THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE!?

From the Pigeon series

Everyone’s favorite grouch of a fowl returns, though the spotlight is firmly fixed elsewhere. 
  
Never content to be merely a supporting character, The Pigeon nonetheless takes a backseat in a story in which The Duckling asks for and receives a cookie with nuts. Incensed, The Pigeon proceeds to rant about the various items and impossibilities he has asked for over the years, ignoring point blank the fact that The Duckling got her cookie by asking politely. At the end of the expected meltdown, the smaller bird reveals that she only got the cookie in the first place so that she could give it to The Pigeon. Flabbergasted (“Hubba— Whaa?!?”), our hero leaves with cookie in hand, and The Duckling reveals that her seeming sainthood—she shares slyness as well as color with Tweety Bird—may be a bit of an act. Even those who think they may have tired of The Pigeon’s antics will find much to enjoy in this familiar but different outing. The importance of politeness is evident, but its delivery is not didactic in the least.  

Just as enjoyable as a read-aloud to a group or as a one-on-one lapsit, it’s a pleasure to see Willems at the top of his game, and The Pigeon suitably humbled. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5128-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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