ALLIGATOR WEDDING

Jewell describes a rowdy alligator wedding in jaunty Edward Lear–esque rhyme. First there is the ceremony complete with a ring and a “big slurpy kiss, on the bride’s long bumpy snout.” Then, with the formalities over, the party begins in earnest. The bayou beasts feast and toast the happy couple, after which the bride feeds the groom half of the wedding cake, sliding it into his mouth with a rake. Then, of course, there is music and dancing. When the bride throws her crawfish bouquet too high, it is scooped up by a pelican. The newlyweds step into their honeymoon barge which sinks under their weight. Although the groom is distraught, the bride knows just what to do—swim, of course! The party goes on long after the couple’s departure, with the animals finally collapsing at sunrise. This amusing-enough romp is made much more interesting by Rutland’s winning illustrations, which flesh out the scenes and bring the bride, the groom and their many guests to life in all their quirky glory. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8050-6819-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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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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