Dazzling.

READ REVIEW

ALL EARS, ALL EYES

This quiet book explores what happens in a forest as day slips into night.

Under a full moon, the landscape glows, exposing various night creatures and their activities. The air above resounds with the hooting of owls and the whirring of bats. On the ground, other creatures stir. A porcupine “scoots between roots.” Others prowl through the shadows, such as a fox, a deer, and mice. Others make no sounds at all, like the fireflies that fill the night with glowing lights. Jackson’s sparse but sensory text entices readers’ imaginations while sparking their curiosity. Its rich onomatopoeia adds to the story’s enjoyment, while its quiet pace creates a soothing bedtime story for young readers. Tillotson’s mottled illustrations that sneakily play with positive and negative space complement the text. Digitally worked watercolors hold on to the fading light, shapes morphing from page to page so that leaves become eyes; translucent print in varying typefaces and fonts floats on the page, in motion with the forest creatures. Readers will relish finding the veiled creatures in the darkening woods—both those that are mentioned on the pages and those that are not. In addition to fostering observational skills in young children, this book could also tie in well with primary grade environmental curricula.

Dazzling. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1571-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 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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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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