Not-so-opposites attract in an exuberant, eccentric tale of emerging BFFs




From the Dill & Bizzy series

Despite initial appearances, a regular duck and a flamboyant bird have a lot in common.

Bizzy, an avowed “strange bird,” lands in Dill’s fountain with a splash, announcing they could be friends if he were an “odd duck.” Dill confirms he’s just an “ordinary duck,” but when Bizzy tells him an odd duck would ride bicycles with her, he jumps on a unicycle. When Bizzy suggests Dill could lunch with her at the pretzel stand if he were an odd duck, he treats her to lunch at the hot dog stand. When Bizzy wants Dill to fly loop-the-loops with her, he executes his own swoops. When Bizzy wants Dill to yodel, he quacks. When she wants him to boogie, he does his duck dance. When she invites Dill to balance bagels on his bill, he juggles peanuts. After a sensational, fun-filled day together, Dill eventually concludes he may be a “tiny bit” odd, while Bizzy decides Dill may just be “extra-ordinary.” Rendered in black lines and a perky palette of aqua, red, and yellow, the comic, action-packed illustrations capture the extravagant antics of one amazing duck and one equally amazing bird from dramatic visual perspectives.

Not-so-opposites attract in an exuberant, eccentric tale of emerging BFFs . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-230452-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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 buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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