Here’s hoping this is not Squeak’s only adventure

READ REVIEW

SQUEAK THE MOUSE LIKES HIS HOUSE

From the I Like To Read series

This simple early reader explores all the things Squeak likes in his house, the kitchen of a (mostly) unsuspecting human family.

Schories’ visual humor makes this slight story of just 18 words into a satisfying and complete adventure. New readers will gain confidence as Squeak navigates his house and words are repeated using the same sentence pattern introduced in the title. The only change is in the article-adjective-noun phrases that provide details of how the mouse uses familiar objects—toys, shoes, the dog’s water bowl, and snacks—provided by the unsuspecting humans who share his house. Bibliophiles will especially appreciate that “Squeak the Mouse likes the good books at his house.” The proximity of the mouse to two young children and a dog, all oblivious to the mouse’s activities, lends an air of daring and suspense to the mouse’s explorations of their shared home. Interjection of the mouse’s “Squeak” as he scurries about the kitchen and the chaos produced when one of the children (both present white) trips and spills her snack of nuts and raisins add both humor and excitement. Picture-book readers will delight in finding the mouse on each spread. Schories’ gentle humor and quick, clever mouse reminiscent of Arnold Lobel’s classic Mouse Tales (1972) should prove equally enduring and effective as both story and reading lesson.

Here’s hoping this is not Squeak’s only adventure . (Early reader/picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3943-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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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

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