A treat for eye and mind alike, besides being suitable for displays and durable enough to stand up to plenty of hands-on use.

ANIMALS UPSIDE DOWN

A PULL, POP, LIFT & LEARN BOOK!

More than 26 creatures flip, twist, swivel or simply pose upside down in this neatly laid-out gallery of nature’s acrobats.

A fruit bat and a male bird of paradise pop up to hover gracefully over double-page spreads, but most of Jenkins’ animals move laterally or switch positions with the pull of a tab or lift of a flap. From a pangolin swinging by its tail to reach a termite’s nest and a sparrow hawk twisting in midair to seize a bird from underneath to a net-casting spider dropping a webby trap over a passing fly, the movements are small but consistently natural-looking. The animals are all rendered with typically amazing accuracy from pieces of cut and torn paper. Captions that themselves sometimes curve or stand on their heads identify each animal and comment on how upending helps it to, usually, capture or to keep from becoming food (more information about each is provided on the closing spread). On a lighter note, to cap the lot, a simple but ingenious sliding panel even flips a human silhouette, as “sometimes going topsy-turvy is just for fun!”

A treat for eye and mind alike, besides being suitable for displays and durable enough to stand up to plenty of hands-on use. (Informational pop-up. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-34127-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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Hee haw.

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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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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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