Adults who have been through the ordeal of a fixer-upper may appreciate the ending more than kids, but everyone will enjoy...

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JACK

A new tale from dePaola is always a reason to cheer, and this riff on “Jack” tale variants will bring smiles.

In this cumulative folk tale, Jack lives on a tiny farm with his grandpa. He tells his grandpa that he wants new friends and to live in the city, and off he goes. Along the way, he encounters a series of animals that join him on the journey—11 to be exact. Chick, duck, goose, dog, frog, pig, cow, cat, sheep, horse and owl (and a crow that’s unmentioned in the text but nevertheless makes a lot of noise) parade along behind Jack to the king’s castle. When Jack requests a house in the city for him and his friends, the king says he has a perfect house, though it “might need some fixing up.” The decrepit, boarded-up building makes that quite an understatement, but Jack and company tackle the rehab with gusto. Voilà, a bright fuchsia house with a window for each of the animals. DePaola eschews a traditional happily-ever-after ending with tongue-in-cheek comments from an old man and old woman: He grumbles, “There goes the neighborhood.” And she chuckles, “It’s about time!” Repeated rubber stamps of each animal’s sound (and individualized colors) add zip (and noise) to dePaola’s signature style and palette.

Adults who have been through the ordeal of a fixer-upper may appreciate the ending more than kids, but everyone will enjoy the fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16154-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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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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