Beware: an unquestioningly Eurocentric salute to brick-and-mortar museums.


Wolf’s reluctant visit to a museum turns out to be exciting in more ways than anyone could have foreseen.

“There once was a wolf who didn’t like museums. ‘Museums are boring,’ he told everyone.” In fact, when Wolf’s animal friends show up to invite him, he goes along solely for the company of curly-lashed lupine Wolfette. Wolf and friends are cartoons with wide, round eyes, wearing a few human accessories. The first museum room is a double-page spread of an art gallery, containing portraits with humorous, wolflike resemblance to world-famous subjects. Older readers will chuckle at the artists’ names, which include Leonardo da Wolfinci and Wolfmeer. Wolf soon meets museum guard Barnabas, a rat in a blue uniform. Barnabas begins to help Wolf appreciate the artwork until he learns that a “tribal mask” has disappeared from its pedestal in the "early art" gallery. Searching for the mask, the two new friends move past interactive exhibits, natural history dioramas, dinosaur skeletons, and more. Barnabas imparts museum etiquette and wisdom to Wolf as Wolf uses logic and observation to track down and expose the thief. Wolf evolves from indifferent visitor to active promoter, and even the thief finds museum-inspired happiness. The lack of specificity around non-European cultures in both text and illustrations, and the unfortunate—if not downright racist—implications behind the simian-appearing thief’s reasons for stealing the generic “tribal mask” mar the intended endorsement of museums.

Beware: an unquestioningly Eurocentric salute to brick-and-mortar museums. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-7338-6740-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Auzou Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 51

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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. 28, 2018

Did you like this book?

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...


Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet