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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LIBRARY LION

Knudsen and Hawkes pick a perfect setting to express the idea that breaking rules can sometimes be a good thing. When a lion wanders into a small town public library the Head Librarian, Miss Merriweather, brushes off the protestations of her realistically officious colleague Mr. McBee and allows it to stay—so long as it keeps quiet, doesn’t run and makes itself useful cleaning books and licking envelopes while waiting for storytime to begin. Anxious-looking patrons of all ages quickly become accepting ones in Hawkes’s soft toned watercolors, and if Miss Merriweather’s hair and dress seem a bit stereotypical, occasional CRT monitors balance glimpses of rubber date stamps and a card catalog in his gracious, old style interiors. When Miss Merriweather takes a fall, the lion roars to attract help, then slinks out in shame—but McBee redeems himself by bustling out into the rain to inform the offender that Exceptions to the Rules are sometimes allowed. Consider this a less prescriptive alternative to Eric A. Kimmel’s I Took My Frog to the Library (1990), illustrated by Blanche Sims—and it doesn’t hurt that the maned visitor is as huge and friendly looking as the one in James Daugherty’s classic Andy and the Lion. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2262-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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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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