Any child who has been lost will relate to this story; the language and illustrations will make it a joy to read.




During a big storm, Little Elephant panics when he gets lost in the rainforest. Can he find his way back to safety?

The wind blows “swish sway swish sway,” and the rain falls “pitter patter pitter patter.” Scared, Little Elephant stays close to his mother. But when “an old tree CRACKS and CRASHES to the ground,” poor Little Elephant is separated from her. But the pachyderm has little time to despair. A tiger is coming, and he must run for his life! Little Elephant runs faster and faster as the tiger gains on him. Just in time, he is reunited with his mother. Huddled within his herd, Little Elephant is safe, and the tiger flees. Little Elephant’s rainforest adventure is nothing new. The beauty of the story, however, lies in the rhythmic onomatopoeia and fanciful illustrations. The howling wind’s “whistles and wails” and the “slip-slop” of slippery mud are heightened by playfully manipulated swirling, swishing letters in varying fonts and sizes. MacCarthy’s dynamic art also enhances the story. Double-page spreads boast wide expanses of rainforest in rich, warm shades of greens, golds, and browns. Tropical plants and rainforest creatures come to life in vivid detail, while emotion and mood are intensified with every carefully chosen hue, line, and brushstroke. In addition, readers will enjoy spotting creatures unique to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia scattered throughout the book (a key at the back helps with identification).

Any child who has been lost will relate to this story; the language and illustrations will make it a joy to read. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-91095-911-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Otter-Barry

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


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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