Typically elegant and entirely satisfying. Which describes the book as well

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LET'S GO FOR A DRIVE!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

When Gerald the elephant and Piggie decide to go for a drive, they find that all the planning in the world can’t replace one crucial ingredient.

“Let’s go for a drive!” proposes Gerald; “That sounds fun!” agrees Piggie. “Drive! Drive! Drivey-drive-drive!” they chorus. Gerald, a touch on the OCD side, insists on a plan that includes a number of items: map, sunglasses, umbrellas, bags and, as there will be “a lot of driving on [their] drive,” a car. Oops. Piggie doesn’t have one; “[a] pig with a car would be silly.” Neither does Gerald. Whatever will they do? The dauntless duo’s 18th outing employs Willems’ award-winning formula: color-coded speech bubbles; lots of white space; endearing visual characterization (Gerald’s emotional journey as he realizes the tragedy a-borning is hysterical); effortless phonetic play; thoughtfully designed endpapers; silliness. The pair’s refrain incorporates each new element to Gerald’s plan in a way that is both classically childlike and slyly pedagogical. After “Map! Map! Mappy-map-map!” children will enjoy anticipating how sunglasses, umbrellas and bags will fit into that pattern—and likely start playing with other words as well. Gerald and Piggie’s solution?

Typically elegant and entirely satisfying. Which describes the book as well . (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-6482-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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Lit with sweetness.

SHARE SOME KINDNESS, BRING SOME LIGHT

Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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