A lovely literary and artistic rendering.

MY BUSY GREEN GARDEN

This action-filled cumulative rhyme deftly tells the story of a vibrant summer garden.

A long view from the gated entrance to the garden portrays a neatly landscaped area hosting an array of busy backyard animals and insects. The next page zooms in on “a surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Each subsequent scene introduces another member of the garden community (inchworm, praying mantis, dragonfly, ants, grasshopper, and chickadee), building the narrative with a rhythmic cadence that flows delightfully, offers a rich vocabulary, and adds to the fluidity of the story. “This is a hummingbird fluttering ’round / the hurrying honeybee buzzing below / the red spotted ladybug dawdling so, / near the surprise / in clever disguise / that hangs in my busy green garden.” Meticulously realistic, lush paintings in garden-bright colors will have children poring over the pages to identify each new pollinator or creature that participates in a blooming garden. Children will be pleased to conclude that the surprise is a hanging pupa ready to open and will recognize the arrival of a butterfly. Repeated readings will be welcomed for the opportunities to look for the clever caterpillar and its changing chrysalis. A postscript outlines the natural role each living thing plays.

A lovely literary and artistic rendering. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88448-495-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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