A fine addition to the series, this can be enjoyed without having read the earlier installment and will be appreciated by...

READ REVIEW

THE QUIET BOAT RIDE

AND OTHER STORIES

From the Fox + Chick series

Fox and Chick return in this follow-up to The Party: And Other Stories (2018).

Echoing the poignant if occasionally antagonistic friendships of such odd couples as Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad and Tad Hills’ Duck and Goose, Ruzzier has again accomplished the task of telling three funny, meaningful stories using markedly simple vocabulary that occurs almost entirely as dialogue between the two characters in speech bubbles. The temperamental differences between even-tempered, organized Fox and anxiety-prone, excitable Chick play out in both word and image. Appealing, whimsical pen-and-ink illustrations are softly washed with color and are featured throughout in panel layouts of various sizes, some stretching to fill the page, in the style of a scaled-down graphic novel. When, in the final tale, Chick spoils Fox’s plans to catch the sunrise by holding up their departure in puzzling out what supplies will be needed (“Should I take my hammer?” asks Chick), Fox’s expression is a marvel of bewilderment, and readers may fear Chick has pushed it too far. In the end, though, the pair enjoy whiling the day away together and catch the sunset instead, bringing the gentle message of learning to live with, and even appreciate, one another’s quirks full circle.

A fine addition to the series, this can be enjoyed without having read the earlier installment and will be appreciated by new readers. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5289-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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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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