WATERSONG

A red fox seeks shelter as a rainstorm builds in intensity.

As the rain begins with a “drip drop,” the fox encounters other creatures, each moving through the pond and forest, finding its own niche or hiding place. The text, in the aptly named Brioso typeface, is scattered across double-page spreads in varying sizes and strengths appropriate to the force of the storm. McCanna’s carefully chosen words are nearly all onomatopoeia, a cacophony of water sounds that resonates on tongue and ear, demanding to be read aloud, moving from “pitter patter” through “gurgle burble” and all the way to “slap and slam,” before finally calming down with “whoosh sigh.” When the rain ends, the syntax changes to verbal commands, exhortations to “sprout” and “sparkle” and “glow.” Text and illustrations weave an interconnected, interdependent tale. There is no mention of the fox or the setting in the text. The creatures and their actions are for readers to discover in Smythe’s brightly hued, digitally finished watercolor illustrations. Frogs and ducks, an owl, snails, a worm, a mouse, and more run, splash, and fly. Hiding eyes watch from behind reeds, mushrooms, and lily pads as the wind whips leaves and branches and trees crash. In the aftermath of the storm, there’s sunshine, a rainbow, and a young fox family. Backmatter introduces such concepts as ecosystems and the water cycle.

Beautiful. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6881-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017

  • New York Times Bestseller

CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 28

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more