This silly but original story demonstrates that imagination can be both troubling and exhilarating.



From the Daddy series

Where are all the animals that keep making strange noises in this little girl’s house?

When a loud “QUACK” is heard as Daddy sits down to dinner, both mother and daughter look alarmed. Could that have been a duck he squashed? At least he said, “Excuse me!” And did the little girl hear a lion’s roar in her parents’ bedroom? All she finds is Daddy finishing a big yawn. She sees the silhouette of a gorilla in the shower and smells a hippo in the bathroom. The flummoxed girl asks her father about all the strange, hidden animals, and he responds cryptically, asking her if she’s ever “sailed on a walrus’s back through the sea” or “ridden a bald eagle up into the skies.” Here, readers see the girl happily riding on her father’s back while he swims and getting a ride up the staircase on her dad’s shoulders. The illustrations have the look of cut-paper collage and include such distinctive details as Daddy’s tattoo and heavy metal T-shirts. The verse is less openly subversive, carrying the fart and toilet jokes along in forced couplets. This book will work best with children old enough to understand that it’s her dad making all of these vulgar sounds (and smells); readers who share the little girl’s credulity will be as mystified as she is.

This silly but original story demonstrates that imagination can be both troubling and exhilarating. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-40749-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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.


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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