A ray of sunshine—for readers and (most) squirrels.

GUESS WHAT!?

From the Unlimited Squirrels series , Vol. 4

The Unlimited Squirrels hit the beach—“squirrel-style."

When three squirrels stick their heads through the frame to say hello, Zoom Squirrel bursts out: “GUESS WHAT!?” Surprised, the three squirrels collapse in a heap. Zoom Squirrel reveals that they are “going to the beach in seven days.” The countdown continues day after day as Zoom Squirrel hypes their trip through song, dance, and bragging. But when Wonder Squirrel wonders what Zoom Squirrel will do at the beach, Zoom Squirrel’s excitement turns to nervousness. Zoom Squirrel doesn’t know what to do! When beach day finally comes, Zoom Squirrel’s pals show what they like to do: playing in the sand, playing with the beach ball, and playing by the water. Zoom Squirrel tries it all. Nothing works out. But what’s one “bad day” after a “great week” of anticipation? As with others in the series, Willems’ fourth entry reads like a variety show with one “BIG Story” followed by short one-offs. Excellent comedic timing, expressive cartoon characters, and corny jokes keep the tone light and fun. Color-coded speech bubbles, “emote-acorns,” and bolded words help support readers in their decoding. The metafictive ending will give them a sense of accomplishment. Series fans won’t encounter anything new besides the countdown, which cleverly helps reinforce the concept of time. The “Beach Day!” and “Research Rodent!” pages add nonfiction elements and direct readers to the series website for more information.

A ray of sunshine—for readers and (most) squirrels. (sheet music) (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-07093-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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