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HERE IS BIG BUNNY

Big fun for new readers who are ready to turn their Where’s Waldo skills to finding text.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Big Bunny!

Controlled, repetitive text invites children to read short sentences directing them to find “a foot…a hand…a tail,” and so on. These named body parts belong to a figure that isn’t wholly visible until the book’s end, provoking readers to search them out in the detailed images. Their stark whiteness makes them stand out on the pages, which depict a busy, vibrant setting reminiscent of those in Richard Scarry books and are likewise populated by anthropomorphic animals going about their days. Shifting perspective and scale make it clear that the creature is not just another one of these animals, and many readers will use the title and cover image to infer that they belong to the eponymous Big Bunny. The reveal at the conclusion is that Big Bunny is not a giant but a large helium balloon of the sort seen in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While this clever conceit is carried out with accessible text, there is a little quibble: the saturation and intentional busyness of the illustrations leaves little rest for new readers’ eyes. The sentences and vocabulary are simple, but finding them on the page is the challenge here.

Big fun for new readers who are ready to turn their Where’s Waldo skills to finding text. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3458-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 28, 2018

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HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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