Serves up fun (and likely a waffle craving)—a good bet for breakfast reading.



Will this woodpecker wishing for waffles win one?

“One morning, Benny awoke to the best tummy-rumbling smell.” He follows his nose to the grand opening of Moe’s, home, so the sign says, of the hot waffle breakfast. Benny doesn’t exactly know what a waffle is, but when he sees one, he knows he wants one. Every attempt to get one ends in a boot or a broom from the beehived, bespectacled white waitress. When his animal friends catch him thinking about waffles and plotting to get one, they laugh and tell him, “Woodpeckers don’t eat waffles!”—but only pushy Bunny has a reason. (Kind of: “Because I SAID so.”) So Benny details his spectacular plan to get a waffle (involving cannon and juggling and fireworks and musical numbers). His description of his plan draws an animal audience around the diner the next morning…but will it net Benny a waffle? Breen’s adorable and determined woodpecker knows what he wants as surely as Willems’ Pigeon does, but Benny may be a bit smarter. His attempts (and final success) will have preschoolers giggling and begging for a second helping. Ink, watercolors, colored pencils, and “artistic genius” were used to make the cartoon illustrations that add the perfect subtle and slapstick humor to Benny’s quest.

Serves up fun (and likely a waffle craving)—a good bet for breakfast reading. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234257-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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