BRIDGET AND THE GRAY WOLVES

The author of Boodil, My Dog (1992) offers another of her offbeat stories. This one, a shaggy-wolf tale about a milquetoast turned commander-in-chief of a pack of wild carnivores, has just the right measure of topsy-turvy, oddball humor. Bridget is a little fraidy cat: she doesn’t like to pet dogs or jump over mud puddles or muck around with worms. She toes the straight-and-narrow when it comes to the daycare teachers’ directives. Then she goes and gets lost on a field trip into the forest, even though she was doing just what she was told. Next thing you know, she’s deep in the purpling woods of dusk, and sets of yellow eyes are peering at her from behind trees. They turn out to belong to a pack of wolves, but wolves of a different stripe. They truck to Bridget’s every order—don’t ask why, just enjoy watching as she puts them through a series of drills disguised as games, playing catch-the-pine cone (until one of them chokes), climb-the-trees (they’re not too good at getting down), and hospital (they like being scratched behind the ears). They even like her mud-and-blueberry pie, which is just what they need before hitting the hay (after a visit to the “pee trees,” that is). Next morning, they direct her out of the woods and back to her daycare center. Who’d have thought it: wolves, a girl’s best friends. Lindenbaum’s comical, off-center art offers a sight never before seen in American picture books: wolves peeing on trees. And the text offers another rarity: droll and ironic humor for children. Yea, Bridget. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2001

ISBN: 91-29-65395-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: R&S/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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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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