Mounting exasperation, preposterous rules, and just plain fun make this party a surefire hit.

YOU MUST BRING A HAT!

A little boy is invited to a party. The only stipulation is that he must bring a hat, which proves to be a lot more complicated than it sounds.

A white tot with a ski-jump swoop of brown hair is going to the “biggest, bestest, hattiest party of all time” (according to the invite). But alas, he does not own a hat! When even the local haberdashery doesn’t have one, the boy turns desperate. He spies a monkey with a hat, but the monkey will not lend it to him. So he must take the monkey (and its hat) to the party with him. But then he runs into another problem. The doorman at the party has a laundry list of other rules—one specifically being that a hat-wearing monkey may not come in unless it has a monocle. Thus starts an absurd chain of events that ends with a penguin wielding a suitcase full of cheese. When the little boy can’t take it anymore and shouts across the page that he has indeed brought a hat, a misconception is cleared up and he finally goes to the (multiculturally populated) party. Sharp-eyed readers who aren’t distracted by the silly, cumulative requirements may notice the loophole that solves the problem earlier in the story, causing all the more giggles.

Mounting exasperation, preposterous rules, and just plain fun make this party a surefire hit. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2688-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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