A cautionary tale about creating too much noise that involves the abrupt disappearance of a human being. Humorous or...



Fluffywuffy is a perfectly nice white longhaired dog with a red-and-white polka-dot hair bow.

The dog shares Mr. Moot’s penchant for quiet, and not a bark or a yip comes from him. When Cousin Clarence, an outsize character in a yellow-and-brown plaid ensemble and a large hat, shows up unexpectedly for a visit of undetermined length, the pet continues to maintain silence. The visitor soon proves to be quite a trial. Clarence likes to make noise while Mr. Moot, a small man with a black brushy mustache, and Fluffywuffy (and a pink teddy) try to sleep. One night, Clarence plays the drums. The next night, he sets up a workshop, complete with rotary saw, and explains, “I just get the urge to make something.” On the third night, he constructs an indoor racecourse and rides around on a motorbike. Mr. Moot is complacent enough to accept his cousin’s odd behavior, but is Fluffywuffy? The mixed-media illustrations have plenty of engaging, amusing details, and Cousin Clarence is a hoot, but this British import has a grisly implied ending. Although Mr. Moot seems oblivious to Clarence’s fate, astute viewers will get the visual clues. Both Mr. Moot and Clarence seem to be white.

A cautionary tale about creating too much noise that involves the abrupt disappearance of a human being. Humorous or macabre? That is the question. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84780-871-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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