I AM INVITED TO A PARTY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Elephant and Piggie return in two more adventures that will deliver guffaws to even the most beginning reader. As in Today I Will Fly and My Friend Is Sad (March 2007), the text appears exclusively in speech balloons, the dialogue perfectly complemented and enhanced by clear cartoon illustrations that show a master of body language and pacing at the top of his game. In I Am Invited to a Party! Piggie, a novice at parties, asks Gerald the Elephant for advice: “I know parties,” he says sagely. The two celebrate the invitation and prepare in ever more absurd fashion—it may be a “fancy pool costume party,” after all, and “WE MUST BE READY!” The end defies all prediction in a goodhearted, highly satisfying twist that will have readers giggling with delight. In There Is a Bird on Your Head! (ISBN: 978-1-4231-0686-9), Piggie provides narration to an ever-more-frantic Gerald as two birds alight, nest and hatch their brood on his head. Both are perfectly pitched to their audience, who are too often given the dreariest of stuff to cut their reading teeth on. This silliness is sublime. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-4231-0687-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2007

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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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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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