DOWN, DOWN, DOWN

A JOURNEY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA

From above the surface to the bottom of the deepest sea canyon, unusual creatures inhabit every level of our oceans, even those seemingly hostile to life. In this intriguing introduction, Jenkins explores the Pacific, gradually descending to its depths (shown by a scale along the right hand side of each double-page spread). His signature cut-paper illustrations show more than 50 creatures, from the albatross in the air to the flatfish living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Along the way he introduces such oddities as a three-foot comb jelly called a Venus’s girdle, a glowing siphonophore colony and a hairy angler with her parasitic mate. Browsers will be delighted by the variety of species, shown in their appropriate colors although not to scale. Backmatter provides some information about the animals pictured, including sizes compared to a human body or hand, although the bibliography does not seem to include the sources used for those facts. Once again, Jenkins provides an almost irresistible entry into our natural world for the youngest readers. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 4, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-96636-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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