Storytime audiences will quack up.

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TRUCK FULL OF DUCKS

Unsure of his destination, can Bernie keep his “On-Time Delivery Money Quack Guarantee”?

Delivery-dog Bernie’s truck is full of goofy, distracted ducks: one’s reading the newspaper, two are drinking a “Bladder Buster” soda—and another ate the directions to his customer’s house. So the put-upon pooch must stop everyone he sees to ask, “Did you call for a truck full of ducks?” A little girl didn’t; she called for a mail truck to send her little brother far away. The jackhammering construction worker didn’t; he called for a “D-D-D-DUMP truck.” The pirate (a mass of disability stereotypes: eyepatch, hook, peg leg, and rotten teeth) didn’t call for ducks…he called for a truck of crackers (for his parrot, of course), “not quackers.” It wasn’t the shark (ice cream truck) or the broken-down extraterrestrial (tow truck). By now, the ducks need a bathroom break—and, finally, from the deep, dark woods someone answers Bernie’s refrain. It was H. Fox, who makes the ducks more than a bit nervous. The surprise reason? Just as foolish as the entire journey. Burach’s tale, told completely in dialogue between Bernie and his possible customers, is only a part of the fun. Silly details decorate every spread of the bright, digitally created, cartoon illustrations, including newspaper headlines (“Stuff Happened”), posters, and the googly-eyed, rambunctious yellow ducks. There is some diversity of skin tone among the humans, but the preponderance are light-skinned.

Storytime audiences will quack up. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-12936-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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