Children aren’t likely to need the instruction, but the validation may be helpful to counter imagination-repressing parents...

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I'M A FROG

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie teaches her pachyderm pal to pretend. Considering that this is their 20th outing, Elephant seems a little slow on the uptake, but he sees the light eventually.

Hopping around her bewildered buddy with many a “Ribbet!” Piggie explains, “I was a pig. Now I am a frog.” Gerald the elephant panics, thinking that he too might be transformed at any moment; there’s all that hopping, and as for eating flies—! Piggie goes on to explain just what “pretending” is all about. Stunned—“And you can just do that?!” —and assured that even grown-ups pretend, Elephant resists Piggie’s invitation to join her in the game. A characteristically hilarious spread depicts the two in heated debate, Piggie’s seven pink speech balloons (“Yes you can!”) tangling with Elephant’s eight gray ones (“No, I can’t!”). But he’s got the last laugh, going on to let out a mighty “MOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Cue the animal concert. As ever, Willems gives figures drawn with elemental simplicity and broadly expressed reactions just a few, but often very large, dialogue words to tell the tale.

Children aren’t likely to need the instruction, but the validation may be helpful to counter imagination-repressing parents or older sibs . (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8305-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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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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