This good-hearted alternative to those five little monkeys is as hardworking as its subjects.

READ REVIEW

FIVE BUSY BEAVERS

Building a dam can take all day…and there are so many distractions.

“Five busy beavers building up a dam, / closing off the river where the salmon swam.” They gnaw down trees and place them in the stream until…“Along came a muskrat, / who wanted to play. / And one little beaver swam away.” Four remaining beavers continue taking down different species of trees; along comes a heron, and then there are three. They drag logs to the dam site…until a line of “chorus frogs” distracts one, and the work crew is down to two. The penultimate beaver waddles off with a turtle who wants to play, and the last, dedicated beaver works until it’s so dark a firefly is needed to light the way back to the lodge. The other four beavers have a plan (with their new friends) to apologize to their hardest worker with a little surprise thank-you party. Grasso’s fact-filled construction tale, originally published in Canada in 2015, is equally well-suited for storytimes and budding naturalists. The details in her counting rhyme are supplemented with notes at the close on each species encountered. Battuz’s happy, lightly anthropomorphized beavers (no construction hats here) enjoy both work and play in the textured, full-bleed illustrations throughout.

This good-hearted alternative to those five little monkeys is as hardworking as its subjects. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2146-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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