Fans of Duck and Goose can happily take the pair with them as they move toward independent reading.



From the Duck & Goose series

Picture- and board-book duo Duck and Goose get the early-reader treatment.

Duck has a gift for his pal Goose—and it’s not even Goose’s birthday! The friendliest fowl around, Duck puts this gift (a mystery to readers) in a white box, paints the box in colorful stripes, and ties a ribbon around it. To top it off, he even includes a handmade card. Goose arrives on the scene and starts honking questions about the present. As soon as Goose realizes the box is for him—and is a convenient receptacle for all his “special things”—he rushes off to gather his many treasures. When Goose returns, Duck tells his hasty friend the box is not the actual gift and invites him to open it, which Goose does to discover…another box! Using a vocabulary of around 60 unique words (usually 8 or fewer per page) Hills successfully shepherds the duo into their newest format. Rather than using italics, the design underlines a few words for emphasis. The spare mixed-media illustrations directly correlate to the text, featuring one or both birds in a patch of grass set against an ample solid white background. In addition to aiding decoding, the book’s predictable pattern contributes to its well-paced comedic moments. On one spread, for instance, Goose unexpectedly breaks the fourth wall in a moment of heightened emotion.

Fans of Duck and Goose can happily take the pair with them as they move toward independent reading. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64489-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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