When the animals first start taking the measure of their circumstances on Noah’s ark, in Hooper’s (Where Do You Sleep, Little One?, p. 940) vision the food chain is a hot topic of discussion. “ ‘But who can sleep,’ the goat replied, / ‘With fox and wolf to sleep beside?’ ” Hooper’s verse is wound tight as a clock spring in these early pages, and Munsinger’s (Score One for the Sloths, p. 803, etc.) illustrations find the predators’ eyes glinting with malice. “ ‘I see in darkness,’ said the cat. / ‘Like you, I spy both wren and rat.’ ” But as the stars wink out and the wind picks up fury, it isn’t only the restless prey that the ark pitched through the storm: “The lion ceased his mighty roar / And trembled on that tilting floor. / The fearsome leopard shook with dread / Upon that rolling, rocking bed.” Then the wren offers to sing her song to soothe their troubled hearts. A mouse tells a story, knowing that it makes the night less dark. The verse is now jauntier even as upper lips stiffen. “The spider said, ‘Though I am small, / Perhaps the lowliest of all’ ” and it proceeds to spin a web of sleep. They awaken as comrades in a peaceable kingdom, stepping to a joyous circle dance, with their great project ahead and more important things on their minds than the next mouthful. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23188-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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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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