BRADLEY MCGOGG

THE VERY FINE FROG

Picky eating has rarely been so lauded as it is in this tale of a delicate amphibian diet. Bradley McGogg finds that his cupboard is bare. After much thought upon the matter he sets off to see if his neighbors might spare a bite to eat. Yet to his steadily increasing horror he finds that mice, rabbits, bears and cows prefer to munch disgusting fare. Downtrodden, Bradley returns home to a house overrun with insects. His hunger abated, he is left pondering at the end of his day, “Other folks eat some pretty strange things.” Set in rhyme, these verses prove to be quite strong, always scanning perfectly without seeming strained. The watercolor-and-gouache paintings seem a throwback to clothed-animal images of days of yore—though Potter, for instance, would never have dressed Jeremy Fisher in red-and-white striped overalls and sandals. Berman’s palette tends to darker hues, which serves the tale well when the story is located in McGogg’s bog, but readers may wish the sunlit fields were a little bit more sunny. An amusing tale, indeed. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-88776-864-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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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 SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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