Text and art play well together here—just as well as Girl and Gorilla do.

GIRL & GORILLA

Resourceful Girl and exuberant Gorilla navigate their way through a venturesome day.

Gorilla would like to play on the moon, but Girl suggests the park. They set off on her red two-wheeler, Gorilla’s bum wedged outlandishly in its basket. Quickly off-balance (go figure), they crash into a trash can, scuttling the bike ride. Bereft, Gorilla asks, “How can we get to the park? How can we play?” Girl begins, “We can—” only to be interrupted by helpful Gorilla, who’s always ready with an imaginative (if impractical) idea. “We can hopscotch to the park!” So it goes, as they (following Girl’s excellent suggestion) “walk and think and think and walk.” Like the extra-large toddler that he is, Gorilla’s wild suggestions are prompted by what he sees and imagines as they go. Spying a kite snagged in a tree, he says, “ ‘We can be kites and fly to the park!’ / ‘We don’t have any string,’ says Girl. / ‘We could use my tail!’ says Gorilla. / ‘You don’t have a tail,’ says Girl.” Walton’s dialogue-rich treatment, with its repetitive structure and simple words, promises double duty as both practice for emergent readers and giggle-inducing read-aloud. Berger’s digital compositions render a retro-hip cityscape; Girl’s bemusement and Gorilla’s roller-coaster emotions come across as both cartoonish and sweetly expressive.

Text and art play well together here—just as well as Girl and Gorilla do. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227891-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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