As they did in Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons, Levine and Spookytooth successfully combine science fact,...

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TOOTH BY TOOTH

COMPARING FANGS, TUSKS, AND CHOMPERS

Adopting an interactive, question-and-answer approach, Levine introduces children to common characteristics and variations in the teeth of mammals.

Directly addressing readers, the author invites them to identify the three types of mammal teeth (incisors, canines, and molars) by looking into a mirror. “Do you see the flat teeth in front? Those are your incisors. If you haven’t lost any recently, you should have four on top and four on the bottom. How many do you have?” Next, Levine asks readers to guess which kind of mammal they’d be if they sported particular types of teeth—for example, “if you had really long canines?” A page turn delivers an answer, capitalized exuberantly: “A SEAL OR A CAT OR A DOG OR A BEAR!” (Asterisked footnotes often add additional examples.) Spookytooth’s flat, stylized, presumably digitally composed pictures incorporate textures of watercolor and wood, using shadows to suggest depth and dimension. Two girls and two boys with differing skin colors hilariously embody Levine’s “what ifs,” modeling everything from a beaver’s protruding incisors to the tusks of the elephant, walrus, warthog, and narwhal. Levine points out specific adaptations in the teeth of meat eaters, herbivores, and omnivores and devotes a few pages to the mainly undifferentiated teeth of nonmammals.

As they did in Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons, Levine and Spookytooth successfully combine science fact, interactive fun, and giggle-inducing pictures. (additional facts, glossary, bibliography, Web resources) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5215-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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