PRINCESS BUN BUN

What begins as a visit to Uncle Dave’s new condominium, turns into an almost-magical adventure at the Castle Apartments. Winifred is the imaginative one, fervently hoping “the castle” comes complete with a moat and a spiky door. Eugene, her brother, would be happy with a mere television. Brenda, lovingly referred to as Bun Bun, has just begun toddling and it is her curiosity that sets the plot in motion. While their parents are busy with the doorman, Bun Bun steps into the elevator with Winifred hurrying after. The doors close. Trapped in the elevator, Bun Bun begins to cry while Winifred tries to comfort her as she’s seen Mommy do. Three times the doors open on the wrong floor and each time they meet with a different character befitting inhabitants of a castle. There’s a monster, a witch, and then a princess. The illustrations let the reader in on the real identity of the apartment occupant. The monster, for example, is an eager spotted dog. At last the hapless two meet the knight, in this case Uncle Dave, who tops off the occasion with a royal surprise. Scrimger and Johnson first combined their talents when they introduced these characters in Bun Bun’s Birthday (not reviewed). Drawn with humor, the artwork supplements the tale by illuminating half the story and adorns each page with willowy ink and watercolor pictures. This is a light but involving read that nicely portrays how a child can affect her environment for it is Winifred’s aplomb and fancy that keeps the situation from turning panicky. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2002

ISBN: 0-88776-543-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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