“Thankz, Buzz!” says the grateful guest of honor at the end. Readers will agree it’s the least a boy could do for his buzzom...

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FLY GUY'S BIG FAMILY

From the Fly Guy series , Vol. 17

In this antic series’ 17th episode, Buzz throws his lonely pet fly a surprizze party.

Inspired by Fly Guy’s drawings of “Muzzer” and “Fazzer,” Buzz plants tiny invitations in every reeking trash can and pile of rot in the neighborhood—and opens the door to thousands of Fly Guy’s relatives, after assuring them there are no “swatterzz” on the premises. “Wow!” says Buzz, delighted. “Flies have big families!” Fly Guy too is delighted: “Bruzzer! / Sizzter! / … / Auntzie! / Unkz!” Buzz’s parents are, understandably, nonplussed, but Buzz has it all planned out…even to the catering, as a garbage truck drives up and dumps a heap of stinking refuse in the yard. Out fly the guests to chow down and play amid the noxious noshes. It’s a grand party, but time (as they say) flies, and ultimately the swarms disperse as the garbage is bagged up. As with all the Fly Guy books, Arnold makes the most of the contrast between readers’ received assumptions about flies and Buzz’s total ignorance of them, genially giving the former a 90-degree twist. Page-filling fleets of flies may give some readers (or their caregivers) pause, but it’s hard not to get a kick out of the way the flies tuck into their garbage banquet, and the baby picture of a larval Fly Guy with a pacifier is pretty darn cute.

“Thankz, Buzz!” says the grateful guest of honor at the end. Readers will agree it’s the least a boy could do for his buzzom buddy . (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-66316-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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