A delightful way to share metamorphosis with the littlest listeners.



From the Hedgehugs series

Hedgehog best friends Horace and Hattie are back, this time marveling at the wonder that is metamorphosis.

As in their first outing, this book begins by introducing the two friends, sharing what they like to do together as well as apart. One day, the two find something “small and shiny and smooth” under a leaf. They are lucky enough to witness the caterpillar hatching from this egg (“egg,” “caterpillar,” “chrysalis,” “butterfly,” and “metamorphosis” are never used in the text). The “wriggly, stripy thing” starts to eat, and it eats and eats and eats and gets bigger, until one day “it made a soft, silky bed, and there it slept for many days and many nights.” The two then spy the cocoon opening; “something beautiful, colorful, and wonderful” crawls out and then flutters away. Taken with this process, Horace and Hattie decide to try it themselves. They eat and eat and eat, then pile flowers in a heap and crawl in to sleep. They emerge transformed and colorful, the petals stuck to their spines, and they can even fly…on their swings. The duo are delightfully naïve and filled with wonder and imagination. Tapper’s textured, digital illustrations have lots of details that will provoke smiles, as when Horace angrily points his finger in a “go away” gesture at a hungry bird, protecting the caterpillar.

A delightful way to share metamorphosis with the littlest listeners. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-414-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


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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