With a nod to classic titles of years past, this provides a fresh, modern take on an itty-bitty heroine's achievement of her...

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THE TOOTH MOUSE

In this beautifully executed title with a fairy-tale feel, an irrepressible mouseling named Sophie is determined to prove she should become the next Tooth Mouse.

Some cultures have a tooth fairy; France has the Tooth Mouse. The current esteemed rodent is about to retire and announces a search for her replacement. Shrewdly elegant in all black with spectacles resting on her pronounced nose, she issues to the throngs of ambitious mice a series of three challenges: “bring … the whisker of a cat,” obtain “a silver coin by honest means,” and propose a plan for the countless baby teeth that are collected each day. Sophie proves brave and honest but struggles with her final task. That night she dreams of teeth: “Shiny teeth, tiny teeth. Munching teeth, crunching teeth. Chewing, chattering, gnawing, guffawing teeth!” When she wakes, she has an answer that is simple yet wise. Hood masterfully spins her story with lush language sprinkled with some French (which further impresses when read aloud). Nadeau dresses the fable in soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations done in sage greens and dusty pinks. Readers will pore over the exquisitely drawn details on each page, from the vignettes highlighting the plucky competitors to the multitude of unique teeth that populate Sophie’s dream.

With a nod to classic titles of years past, this provides a fresh, modern take on an itty-bitty heroine's achievement of her seemingly impossible goal. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-565-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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