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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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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. 29, 2018

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.


Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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