A taut, high-speed escapade even very young viewers can keep up with.

HOCUS POCUS TAKES THE TRAIN

Magician’s rabbit meets dropped bunny toy at the railroad station. Can they reach the train before it departs without them?

The tale is propelled by the same high-tension comic suspense and bursts of frantic action that supercharged its predecessor, Hocus Pocus (2011). The ensuing chase through the railroad station pits the lagomorphic laggards against not only physical obstacles that range from a moving forest of passengers’ legs to automatic doors with out-of-reach release buttons, but also the active efforts of the oblivious magician’s snickering dog to derail the rescue at every turn. With only sound effects (“PAF!”; “blblblblblbl!”; “ZIIIP!”) and symbols (a light bulb; a wailing baby) for dialogue, the sequential panels of simply drawn retro-style art depict sudden reverses and quick, clever workarounds. It all rushes breathlessly to a happy conclusion: dog foiled, rabbit back in hat, plush bunny reunited with screaming toddler in the seat across the aisle. Whew!

A taut, high-speed escapade even very young viewers can keep up with. (Graphic picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55453-956-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

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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