A disappointing addition to an already-full shelf

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HELLO TO YOU, MOON

Bright yet busy illustrations light up this nighttime story.

Bedtime stories that feature animals and the moon are all too familiar, and this book does not stand out from the pack. Pencil-and-digital illustrations depict animals from all over the world, making noises and moving about as the moon rises and sets in the night sky. The primarily purple, red, and blue palette is eye-catching, as is the attention to textures and patterns. However, the text leaves readers with more questions than answers: How can the moon move simultaneously over the Northern and Southern hemispheres? Why are diurnal animals included, such as lions, monkeys, penguins, and meerkats, in what should be a nocturnal menagerie? Why are these animals together at the end when they live on different continents? And why do they then say hello to the setting moon; shouldn’t they bid the moon goodbye? In addition, the stars shine brightly throughout the text, but at dusk and dawn, stars are less visible than they are in darkest night. Furthermore, some of the animals don’t make the sounds ascribed to them in the text—for example, koalas don’t bellow. Problematic rhyme and meter further detract from this already disappointing reading experience. Skip this book and choose more-thoughtful, well-thought-out depictions of bedtime, nighttime, and the moon.

A disappointing addition to an already-full shelf . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-76012-546-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Hare/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

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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