Readers will never look at Groundhog Day in quite the same way again.



A groundhog who wants to be appreciated for more than his meteorological skills decides to go on vacation.

Every year, it’s always the same: “Are there going to be six more weeks of winter?! Is spring around the corner?!” People never ask Groundhog about him. So he packs up and heads to the spa, leaving a letter behind to explain himself. The mayor holds auditions for Groundhog’s position, but no animal can match him: among others, Elephant is too big, the nocturnal animals’ schedules are wrong, and “Ostrich got the whole thing backward.” But the auditions do make the TV news, and Groundhog is pleased to hear that his flair, work ethic, and all-around specialness are appreciated after all. He heads home to wide acclaim and loads of questions about himself. Happy, he gives his February forecast and heads into his hole…where Pearlman shatters Groundhog’s peace with a televised announcement that the Easter Bunny has quit. Helquist uses Groundhog’s perspective to show readers just how he is feeling—the scene after he’s shown himself on Groundhog Day, surrounded by litter and utterly alone, is particularly poignant, though the images of him at the spa, cucumbers on his eyes, and the auditioning animals help balance the mood.

Readers will never look at Groundhog Day in quite the same way again. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-6196-3289-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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.


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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