This unusual multicultural pairing packs a powerful punch

THE GREAT RACE

From the Kanchil Stories series

In Indonesian and Malaysian folklore, Kanchil the mouse deer (an animal about the same size as a rabbit) is a trickster character who usually outwits his fellow animals. Here he stars in a tale similar to Aesop’s "The Tortoise and the Hare."

In this third tale in Scott's series about the character (Mangoes and Bananas, 2006, etc.), Kanchil invites the other animals to a race. Surely he can run faster than Gajah the elephant, Babi the boar, Harimau the wicked tiger, Kerbau the water buffalo and Buwaya the crocodile, who has "fast moving jaws." When Kakatua, the scarlet macaw, announces the race, none of the animals enter, except for Pelan the snail. Pelan outsmarts Kanchil not once, but twice, but only the readers, not the animals, will ever find out how. Tara Publishing champions the talents of Indian folk artists and has paired this very accessible story with dramatic images in a specialized style originally used for Gujarati religious cloth paintings. Though there's no claim that this art style has any relationship to the original tale, it's an apt match. The book designer adapted the work to the printed page, keeping the intense blood red and ebony black. Each double-page spread takes on an exciting life of its own. A note provides background information on the tale, and an afterword tells the story of the illustrations with photographs of the original cloths.

This unusual multicultural pairing packs a powerful punch . (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-93-80340-15-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more