SLICKETY QUICK

POEMS ABOUT SHARKS

An inviting format to spark shark discussions; however, it’s a shame that sources and backmatter were left adrift.

Fourteen sharks, each with a dedicated poem, lurk within these turquoise-watered pages.

Despite their immediate reputation as fierce predators, sharks are varied and have many different characteristics. In her picture-book debut, Brown explores not only the well-known great white and hammerhead, but also the lesser-known deep-sea dwellers. The layout of the text frequently mimics the shark under discussion: words form the cavernous shape of the gaping megamouth or drip down into the mustachioed-frown of the nurse shark. The cookie-cutter shark's poem spirals in toward itself to mirror the twist of the tiny predator's bite. And well-placed spaces heighten suspense: "your slinky stripes slide around / from below you   wait. / and stalk your prey you    wait." A smattering of informational text is also included for each shark. Kolar's streamlined digital illustrations show wide jaws and toothy grimaces, but blood is never shed. Shimmering blues of the surface fall away to the murky depths of the ocean floor.

An inviting format to spark shark discussions; however, it’s a shame that sources and backmatter were left adrift. (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6543-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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