A buzzworthy introduction to insects that may get kids outside looking at the bugs.


From the Pipsie, Nature Detective series

In their third outing, Pipsie and her best bud, Alfred Z. Turtle, solve the mystery of what might have caused Alfred to be sticky and smelly and have a red, sore bump on his foot after a morning outing at the park.

After a bath to cure the smelly part of Alfred’s affliction, the duo heads back to the park to retrace Alfred’s steps and try to puzzle out what might have bitten him. Along the way, they come across lots of different insects and an arachnid, Pipsie sharing with Alfred (and readers) cool facts about each. The friends find partial clues everywhere they turn (mosquitoes bite, but Alfred’s foot doesn’t itch, and there’s nothing sticky or stinky by the water) until they finally add up the clues and solve the mystery, which involves three different insects: one for the stinky, one for the sticky, and one for the sore foot. A final spread of fun facts provides more information about five of the species the two encounter, but these don’t include the one responsible for Alfred’s bite, a miss for readers. Also, it states that honeybees collect pollen on their wings, and the beehive is depicted inaccurately. Pale-skinned, dark-haired Pipsie has her magnifying glass and nature notebook ever at the ready in her backpack, prepared for anything Mother Nature presents her with.

A buzzworthy introduction to insects that may get kids outside looking at the bugs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5099-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...


It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?