A tailor-made parade for younger clotheshorses.


In this collection of poems, rhymed commentary sets off a menagerie of elegantly attired fashionistas strutting their stuff.

“Far below a barren field that’s looking fairly frozen / groundhogs dance the polka in their cozy lederhosen.” With sure command of metrics as well as excellent comic timing, Levinson dishes out pithy observations on animals from “Lions and tiger and bears (oh my!)” to snakes and spiders, all striking poses in the Howdeshells’ flat, screen print–style fashion plates. If some choices of attire do not come off as well (“Cheetahs in leopard-print leggings? / So sleek! / Horses in zebra-print jeggings? / Trés chic! / Porcupines stuffed into unitards? / Eek”), still, the deer and antelope leaping balletically in sweatpants, gyrating “King-aroos” in sequined jumpsuits and “blue / suede / shoes,” and a trash can tableau of “raccoons… / in fine pantaloons” exude élan as seemingly effortless as the rhymes. Nor is outerwear all that’s in the closet: “Do you wonder / what is under / every turtle’s shell? / Underpants are what is under. / Undershirts, as well.” Those shells probably chafe something fierce. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A tailor-made parade for younger clotheshorses. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781951836627

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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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. 29, 2018

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A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.


From the Fly Guy series

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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