A chortle-worthy, if sketchy, continuation of Ganesha: The Wonder Years (2015).



From the Campfire Junior series

The elephant-headed—and, here, -bodied—Hindu god throws his considerable weight around in this lunar pourquoi tale.

So annoyed is Ganesha after being tripped up by a snake that he condemns the guffawing Moon to darkness: “There, this from now / on shall be your curse, / to be hidden forever, / be glad it’s not worse!” “NOOOO,” wails the Moon, and “WHAT’S HAPPENING??” cry frightened villagers. Even the gods are frightened, and so at their appeal, Shiva gently guides his pachydermatous offspring into a compromise that allows the Moon to cycle monthly from dark to light “and everything in between.” This well-known traditional episode is available in more elaborated versions in Uma Krishnaswami’s collection The Broken Tusk, illustrated by Maniam Selven (1996), and widely online. Here it is related in lumbering verse and illustrated cartoon-style in large sequential panels. Clad in a loincloth that looks rather like a red-and-yellow diaper, portly Ganesha cuts a comical figure, though his innate good nature isn’t really in evidence. Still, both his mighty pratfall and the broad-faced Moon’s exaggerated expressions of glee, dismay, and finally relief set a light tone.

A chortle-worthy, if sketchy, continuation of Ganesha: The Wonder Years (2015). (sticker sheet) (Graphic folk tale. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-93-81182-16-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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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. 29, 2018

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


From the Fly Guy series

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. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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