Rocket’s fans will enjoy practicing their skills and their own countdowns to (and collections for) Day 100.



From the Rocket series

Rocket, the dog of reading fame, spends the first few months of school collecting 100 “special things,” but when the 100th day of school finally arrives, five are missing.

Rocket’s items are varied and reflect his friends, the changing season and his own interests: acorns, the letters of the alphabet, a few of Owl’s feathers, heart-shaped rocks, sticks shaped like numbers, pine cones, pencils, etc. Bella the squirrel kindly allows Rocket to stow all these items in her hole in a tree. But when he comes to collect them again, five things are missing…five acorns. The squirrel tries to avoid questions about the missing acorns. “The what?...Acorns?” In a hysterical double-page spread that beautifully captures the confession of a compulsion, the squirrel, head flung back, paws thrown wide, shouts, “YES! I ATE THEM!...I LOVE ACORNS SO MUCH!” A page turn shows a sad Rocket and a remorseful Bella. But the clever dog is not stymied for long. Luckily, he has four old friends and a new (and forgiven) friend in Bella, making the requisite 100. A large font, short sentences and white background behind large, simple illustrations help readers decode words, just like their favorite reading dog.

Rocket’s fans will enjoy practicing their skills and their own countdowns to (and collections for) Day 100. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-39095-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet