MISS MOUSIE'S BLIND DATE

Wonderful.

Spring fever strikes even the rodents. And who knows where the heart leads?

"Spring is such a funny thing—it wakes up all the plants / And makes our furry woodland friends go cuckoo for romance." Indeed. One day, when Miss Mousie is shopping at the mole's deli, her heart stops at the sight of rakish Matt LaBatt (the water rat), who looks suave (and très Français) in striped shirt and kerchief. She can barely speak...or squeak. "Her little legs went weak." When she drops her hankie to catch his attention, Matt calls her fat, which brings tears to her eyes and sends her to bed for a day. What brings her out of sadness is an anonymous invitation to dinner; of course she knows just who it is! She dresses to the nines, and all the animals applaud her as she walks excitedly to her date. But the would-be suitor is not Matt the water rat; it's the kind mole who owns the deli. He tries all manner of slick techniques to woo her, and they fall comically flat. But in the end, he pledges to be himself if she will do the same. Her reply? "Oui-oui." Beiser's sprightly text has warmth, heart and a valuable lesson. Berman's pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story.

Wonderful. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-77049-251-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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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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