Verbal and visual humor abound.

MOM, THERE'S A BEAR AT THE DOOR

A bear, a mother, and her child have lively two-way conversations.

Endpapers set a humorous tone with their depiction of bear tracks on an old-fashioned tiled floor. Readers then meet a big bear trying to hide behind a tree. They are invited to share in his escapade as he is next seen in an apartment house. Quiet, he signals, and the deadpan fun continues. A child, dialogue in black, announces that “there’s a bear at the door!” Mom answers, her dialogue in red, “But we live on the eleventh floor!” “That’s why he’s there,” says the child. (Duh.) The verbal mayhem continues as logic is stretched. The bear takes the bus and yes, he has a ticket, because how else could he board the bus? He is on their floor because he wants to see the sea. He can’t do that in the forest where he lives, which is why he has to look out their window. His objective met, he enjoys Black Forest cake, and then the bear and the child, properly helmeted, bus and bicycle back to the forest to enjoy a cozy nap. Lipan’s text, translated from German, recalls the rhythmic cadences of Remy Charlip’s classic Fortunately. Olten’s colorful, full-bleed artwork with reds and greens predominating imbues the characters with barrelfuls of personality.

Verbal and visual humor abound. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5460-5

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed.

YOU DON'T WANT A DRAGON!

If you thought having a unicorn as a pet was hard, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried owning a dragon.

The young protagonist of You Don’t Want a Unicorn! (2017) is back, and they clearly haven’t learned their lesson. Now they’ve wished for a pet dragon. As the intrusive narrator is quick to point out, everything about it seems fun at the beginning. However, it’s not long before the doglike dragon starts chasing squirrels, drooling, pooping (ever wondered where charcoal comes from?), scooting its butt across the floor (leaving fire and flames behind), and more. By now, the dragon has grown too huge to keep, so the child (who appears white and also to live alone) wishes it away and settles for a cute little hamster instead. A perfect pet…until it finds a stray magical cupcake. Simple cartoon art and a surfeit of jokes about defecation suggest this book will find an appreciative audience. The dragon/dog equivalences are cute on an initial read, but they may not be strong enough to convince anyone to return. Moreover, a surprising amount of the plot hinges on having read the previous book in this series (it’s the only way readers will know that cupcakes are unicorn poop).

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53580-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more