FLY GUY AND FLY GIRL

NIGHT FRIGHT

From the Fly Guy series

Readers will buzz to it like flies to manure.

Arnold’s buzzworthy Fly Guy series gets another spinoff, this time co-starring Fly Girl.

One day, Buzz invites Fly Guy to go to the zoo, inspired by a book about wild animals. Elsewhere, Liz invites her insect pal, Fly Girl. The human-fly pairs collide on their way with a “WHAP” (the flies) and a “WHUMP” (the humans). Once recovered, they decide to continue to their outing together. Buzz and Liz break off to go see the spider monkeys and naked mole rats, leaving Fly Guy and Fly Girl on their own. The two flies go looking for lunch, finding things that are “sticky,” “slimy,” “slippery,” and “smelly.” Their alliterative adventure culminates in a “scary” exhibit of “Creatures of the Night” (or, from their perspective, a “dark, dark cave”). “Gulpz” after “Gulpzie,” the flies spook themselves silly as they meet each animal. They hide in a box for safety. But will their humans find them? Using fewer than 90 words and their variants—including some decoded “fly talk”—Arnold keeps the text easy to read. The quick pace, including some genuinely surprising page turns, ups the entertainment factor. It’s unfortunate, however, that Fly Girl is presented with gender stereotypes: She’s pink and wears a bow on one of her antennae. Both Buzz and Liz present White. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.8-by-11.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 25% of actual size.)

Readers will buzz to it like flies to manure. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-54921-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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