Though the ending lacks closure, this charming story can be used in multiple ways, including as a counting book and as...

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SANDY, TOSH AND THE MOO COW

Jamaican siblings Sandy and Tosh search for cows.

When Tosh hears a “moo cow” outside his window one morning, he yells for his older sister, Sandy. Clearly the kids have a love of bovines, because when they rush to the window and see “the swish of a brown tail disappearing down the street,” they decide to go after it. With their mother’s (depicted from the waist down as two brown legs in a colorful, sunflower-print dress) blessing, the pair head off for “an early morning adventure.” The loose linework and the way the watercolors bleed over lend the illustrations an almost child-drawn feel. The story morphs into a counting book as the two adventure past various groups of animals in varying numbers. The illustrations excel at conveying emotion: One notable spread depicts an ecstatic Tosh when they encounter moo cows, and another double page spread offers two separate images of half of Tosh’s face—the only difference being the shape and size of his eyes, which perfectly capture his feelings. The children’s adventure ends rather abruptly, which may leave curious readers with questions.

Though the ending lacks closure, this charming story can be used in multiple ways, including as a counting book and as exposure to life in Jamaica for non-Jamaican readers . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-976-8267-14-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Banyan Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 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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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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