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THE EASTER BUNNY THAT OVERSLEPT

This protean holiday tale’s third redaction (1st edition, 1957, illustrated by Adrienne Adams; revised edition, 1983, re-illustrated by Adams) has been dumbed down “for a new generation” (as the Publisher’s Note has it) and paired to stiff, coarsely painted collages constructed in part from clipped photos and patterned wallpaper. One year the Easter Bunny oversleeps his appointed gig and discovers that no one wants painted eggs on Mother’s Day, or, later, July 4th or Halloween. (The previous edition’s “Early in May the rain stopped. The sun shone into the Easter bunny’s burrow and woke him up. He yawned and stretched, and put on his new clothes because, of course, he thought it was Easter time,” has been reduced to: “That month it rained every day; then in May the sun came out. The bunny woke up. Yawn! Stretch!” Santa, however, welcomes him, puts him to work with the elves, and finally gives him an antique alarm clock so that he’ll never oversleep again. Saaf (What Do Ducks Dream?, p. 544, etc.) dresses the Easter Bunny in striped pajamas, and applies white paint so thinly over the brown undercoating that the rabbit’s unclothed parts have a smudged, raddled look. Altogether, a charming minor classic in tawdry new dress. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029645-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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