Catchy and fun.



A hound-dog puppy with a too-loud bark helps Papa Noel find his way through the Louisiana bayou on Christmas Eve.

A smattering of Cajun and French words lends authenticity to this story of swamp animals who must contend with Randolph’s “cover-your-ears loud” barking. Sac-a-lait fish, possums, and alligators are frightened by the pup’s eerie howling. The little coonhound can’t help himself, but the other pups are afraid he’ll scare Santa away. Alliterative text (“the biggest bark on the bayou”) pops, and sound effects are incorporated into the illustration as the little misfit puppy slinks away only to find himself in a position to help a grateful Santa to find his way through the bayou. Illustrations in soft, muddy tones are appropriate for the setting—this is not a picture book that screams “Christmas” with bright colors but one that will have a lot of appeal to children who don’t live in parts of the country that see snow. Instead, it’s rich language that makes this a good choice for a read-aloud: “With a jingle and a jangle and a loud ho-ho, the sleigh zooms off.” Randolph is a stand-in for the more famous Rudolph, with his own four verses that can be sung to the familiar tune. The author provides a glossary for French and Cajun words and phrases. Santa presents white.

Catchy and fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4556-2269-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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