A humorous and effective early reader that meets the standard set by this successful series.

READ REVIEW

SEE ME PLAY

From the I Like To Read series

In Meisel’s latest dog-themed early reader (See Me Dig, 2013, etc.), a pack of determined dogs chases after a yellow tennis ball by using a hot air balloon, a speedboat, and a pink convertible.

The simple, predictable text uses just four or five words per double-page spread, with elementary sentence structures that are accessible to new readers. The story begins with an olive-skinned human (shown only from the shoulders down) ready to throw the ball for the waiting dogs. Several sentences are repeated with the change of just one word as the ball is taken in turn by a bird, a whale, and a lion. The amusing canines can conjure up whatever help they need in their joint effort, taking off in a hot air balloon to chase after the bird, zooming across open water in pursuit of the whale, and speeding after the lion in their sporty pink convertible. The smiling lion suddenly stops and swallows the ball, ending the chase. The concluding page finds the playful pups whisked back home where they started, with the human character now ready to throw a stick. The illustrations provide plenty of motion, appealing animal characters, and funny details such as the tennis ball clenched in the whale’s jaws.

A humorous and effective early reader that meets the standard set by this successful series. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3832-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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

THE DINKY DONKEY

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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