Most children will recognize the tiger as an unreliable narrator and enjoy the silliness of his assertions.

READ REVIEW

SECRET LIFE OF A TIGER

After admitting to readers that he recently bit, then swallowed whole, an apparently human explorer, a tiger insists that he’s really a great guy.

The tiger is reminiscent of Hanna-Barbera’s funny, anthropomorphic felines. At the beginning, a double-page spread of lush, colorful jungle flora—and a few small fauna—backgrounds the tiger, whose relaxed form is draped over a tree limb as he dozes. The text, and bold, white lettering, addresses readers: “Hey! Look who we’ve spotted. He’s big and stripy, with a mouth full of sharp, white teeth. Do you know who he is?” After affirming readers’ indisputable guess, the text continues, mentioning that the tiger is still asleep but will soon awaken. After this, most of the text is Tiger’s monologue to the readers. The important exception is a double-page series of vignettes that posit readers’ assertions about real tiger behavior (“He’ll sneak up on you!”). The tiger tries to dispute these, until he admits to the devoured-explorer accusation. His ridiculous insistence that he eats his prey “with love” sets up the next pages, in which hilarious artwork shows him, among other things, preparing fruit salad for a baby elephant, styling hair for baboons, and designing a Coliseum-like anthill for some local pismires.

Most children will recognize the tiger as an unreliable narrator and enjoy the silliness of his assertions. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68297-154-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Words & Pictures

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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