Hooray for Mr. Tiger and his wild ways! (Picture book. 3-7)

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MR. TIGER GOES WILD

There’s a lot to go wild for in this picture-book celebration of individuality and self-expression.

Mr. Tiger lives a peaceable, if repressed, life alongside other anthropomorphic animals in a monochromatic, dreadfully formal little town. All the other animals seem content with their stiff, dull lives, except for Mr. Tiger, whose bright coloring is a visual metaphor for his dissatisfaction. When child (animal) characters scamper by, a bipedal horse admonishes them, “Now, children, please do not act like wild animals.” This plants a seed in Mr. Tiger’s mind, and a few pages later, he embraces a quadruped stance. The spread following this wordless one makes great use of the gutter, positioning aghast townsfolk on the verso as Mr. Tiger proudly marches off the recto on all fours. This is just the beginning of his adoption of wild ways, however: He sheds his clothing, runs away to the wilderness, roars and generally runs amok. But, much like that other Wild Thing, Max, Mr. Tiger comes to miss his friends, his city and his home, and so he returns to find “that things were beginning to change.” Ensuing pages show animals in various states of (un)dress, sometimes on all fours, sometimes on two feet, cavorting about in colorful settings, and (to paraphrase the closing lines) all feeling free to be themselves.

Hooray for Mr. Tiger and his wild ways! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-20063-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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