There's room on the bookshelf for this yummy friendship-themed picture book.

READ REVIEW

BUILDER MOUSE

Two mice learn that friendship is all about give and take in this sweet and simple tale.

For best friends Edgar and Toby, leftovers mean very different things. Architect wannabe Edgar builds intricate structures. Watermelon rinds, runaway peas, ripe tomatoes, and more transform into arches, towers, and pyramids. Always-hungry Toby sees leftovers as lunch and finds Edgar’s “buildings” delicious. After Toby devours one too many of his creations, a fed-up Edgar moves out to seek a place where he can build in peace. However, he discovers that mice all over the city love leftovers. The subway mice find his castle made from peanuts, chips, and chocolate bars “irresistibly tasty.” The restaurant mice gobble up his cheese dome. And the museum mice eat up his candy mural because “they all agreed that it needed to be digested to be fully understood.” Soon, Edgar realizes that he misses his best friend and wants to find the middle ground. When Edgar returns home, Toby has a surprise of his own. Amusing details in the artwork abound—trendily dressed rodents in pearls and pageboy caps, as well as subtle changes in color to indicate mood. Plus, Eldarova’s droll text and vivid illustrations complement each other like macaroni and cheese, demonstrated in tension-creating page turns and effective double-page spreads.

There's room on the bookshelf for this yummy friendship-themed picture book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-35766-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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