Hilarious hijinks at the zoo.

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OH NO, BOBO!

YOU'RE IN TROUBLE

There’s trouble at the zoo!

It begins when Bobo the monkey steals the zookeeper’s flashlight. What a neat toy! “Click. Click!” It goes on and off…until it doesn’t. Fifi the koala is certain that Bobo will be in trouble (as is Bobo). After all, Bobo broke the zookeeper’s flashlight. He can’t fix it (poking it with a screwdriver makes it worse), and no one will help him (not even his fellow simians). Will Fifi tell on him? Not if he trumpets her greatness! (He does.) Will readers tell on him? Bobo asks them. On no! Here comes the zookeeper! The kindly zookeeper, a white man, sees that the flashlight just needs new batteries…and pats Bobo on the head. (Readers attuned to the cultural debate surrounding the association of black people with monkeys may well wince at this sight.) Now it’s Fifi who’s in trouble. (At least according to Bobo.) Told entirely in pictures and dialogue callouts (mostly from Fifi and Bobo), the tale is a stitch. The expressive, exaggerated illustrations, often arrayed several vignettes to a page, might as well be a storyboard for an animated short. Neither characters’ eyebrows seem to be anchored to their faces, often soaring well over their foreheads for extra expressiveness. With the right delivery, this will have listeners rolling on the floor.

Hilarious hijinks at the zoo. (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-17683-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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