CRISPIN AND THE 3 LITTLE PIGLETS

A privileged piglet adjusts to life with triplets in Dewan’s sequel to Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All (not reviewed). Dewan’s opening spread shows the boy, alone, riding a scooter in front of his rambling, futuristic home. Later, he tools around inside with his friend Penny, a floppy-eared rabbit, and Nick, a blue raccoon. “How would you like a little brother or sister?” his mother asks as she works out on an elliptical machine. The idea has never crossed his mind, but, being a sensible pig, Crispin goes to Penny’s crowded apartment to learn what life is like with siblings. Lively and humorously detailed, Dewan’s illustration reveals bunnies on the counter, the floor, in the cupboard and drawer. How bad could one baby be, Crispin thinks. When his mother gives birth to triplets Crispin isn’t sure what to do and with all the attention lavished on the babies, he feels left out. The situation worsens when the babies come home. Grouped in trios, a series of side-by-side vignettes portray a growing trend. On the left, guests arrive bearing gifts for Crispin; smaller illustrations appear on the right, reflecting the boy’s diminished spirit as the guests go off “to play with the piglets” and leave him standing alone. Any child who’s ever had to make room for siblings will sympathize with Crispin and recognize themselves as he eases into the role of big brother. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 11, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-74633-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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Hee haw.

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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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