Here’s hoping for more hard-boiled detecting from Wilcox and Griswold! (Mystery. 5-9)

THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE

From the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery series

Two police mice, one missing cake, a bunch of suspects—it’s a big case!

When Miss Rabbit leaves her carrot cake (with cream-cheese icing) out to cool and returns later to find only a mess of crumbs, she calls Detective Wilcox and Capt. Griswold. Over 100 animals on Ed’s farm means there’s a lot of suspects. Tongue firmly in cheek, Wilcox tells the story of this challenging case in clipped tones reminiscent of Dragnet. Fowler, the observant owl, loves rabbits, he informs readers. “She liked them for breakfast. She liked them for lunch. And she loved them for dinner.” His narration is peppered with food references that elevate this entertaining mystery, already fizzing with humor and inside jokes. To open their investigation, they slide down the rabbit hole, but Miss Rabbit does not have a crumb of an idea. The repeated food-based idioms (hard nut to crack, slower than molasses, take the cake) alternate with puns that a young reader will appreciate. When questioning Porcini the pig, Wilcox accuses, “Seems like you’ve spent some time in the pen.” The droll language is complemented with full-color cartoon illustrations that extend the text and add to the laughter. Readers ready for chapter books will solve the crime and then be surprised by the twist at the end.

Here’s hoping for more hard-boiled detecting from Wilcox and Griswold! (Mystery. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939547-17-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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