Plenty of visual cues, lots of repetition and a clear story arc make this a perfect choice for beginning readers—and parents...

READ REVIEW

HAPPY CAT

From the I Like to Read series

This cheery entry in the I Like to Read series successfully tells a simple tale and creates a sense of community using just 20 unique words.

Short, declarative sentences describe the action. Cat enters a house, climbs up three floors and finds a cozy room just big enough to make a perfect home. Colorful, cartoon-style illustrations help fill in the details. The eponymous hero is a round, yellow cat with a shy smile who starts out shivering on a cold and snowy sidewalk. Jumping into an open window, he lands in a snug cellar, where he meets a friendly rat who sends him up the stairs. The animals who live in the upper stories welcome Cat and offer gifts that reflect their interests. When “Cat [meets] Dog,” who sits in a cozy armchair surrounded by bookshelves, Cat leaves with a book tucked under his arm. Rabbit, an enthusiastic gardener, gives him a small potted plant, Bird offers a painting, and Elephant takes time out from playing the piano to provide a hot cup of tea. By the end, “Cat [is] happy,” and readers will be too.

Plenty of visual cues, lots of repetition and a clear story arc make this a perfect choice for beginning readers—and parents pressed for time will likely be happy to find such a short, sweet read-aloud. (Early reader.4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2659-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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