BASHO AND THE RIVER STONES

Myers revisits his characters from Basho and the Fox (2000) with another original tale in folklore tradition as pleasant as the haiku of the most revered Japanese poet that he honors. Once again, this tale of wit and courage centers on the cherries of the first story that Basho had promised to share with the foxes nearby. In an effort to trick him out of the entire crop, the fox matches wits with Basho, but finds that Basho cannot be fooled as he finds value in whatever he’s given (even plain river stones) and in whatever he does. Through his example, the cunning fox, a traditional folk character in Japan, also learns to find value in kindness and sharing. The lushly colored illustrations reflect the gentle nature of Basho and establish the setting and tale as one of simplicity and reverence for true understanding and gratitude. Indeed, as Myers writes: “I’ve eaten cherries alone— / but they’re much sweeter / when shared with a friend.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7614-5165-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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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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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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