HUCK RUNS AMUCK!

Huck is a goat with an eclectic appetite. But most of the usual goat edibles just don’t tickle the taste buds. He finds that woolly gloves stick in his teeth, and “cardboard boxes taste like boring afternoons.” His all-time favorite tasty treats are flowers. It doesn’t matter whether they are on top of a mountain or in Mr. Watson’s bouquet or on Mrs. Spooner’s hat. Even flower patterns on clothing or table linens call to him. Huck tries, but each attempt to reach those elusive flowers leads to disaster, leaving him tumbling down a mountain, being chased by a big dog, colliding with a bicycle. But this intrepid (or, shall we say, maniacal) goat remains undaunted by fear, prior experience or reason. Taylor employs simple, conversational language in a fast-paced, almost breathless, easy-breezy cadence that draws readers right into Huck’s adventures. Double-page spreads of Reynolds’ detailed, cartoon-like, watercolor, ink and tea illustrations on a bright, white background surround the large-print text. Words and phrases like, “Uh-oh,” and “Oh No,” and the often-repeated “He can’t resist!” are boldly hand-lettered for emphasis. But Huck is the star here; his expressions are wildly enthusiastic, goofy and totally demented. Hilarious, laugh-out-loud fun. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3261-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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