A tall tale with lots of fun kidding around.

READ REVIEW

OUR KID

A far-fetched excuse for tardiness at school with a twist ending—and dinopirates.

The eponymous Our Kid is a young, anthropomorphic goat who can’t seem to get his act together. Despite his parents’ guidance, he’s late to school and has neither his homework nor his uniform. Sent to the corner by his teacher as punishment, Our Kid weaves a fantastic tall tale to explain his tardiness and unpreparedness for school, which involves a shortcut, a submarine, “dinopirates” (who steal his homework and pants), and a helpful elephant with a howdah on its back who finally brings him across crocodile-infested waters to school. Throughout, onomatopoeic neologisms pepper the text and provide a silly sensibility that enhances its telling. (“Why so glumbumtious, little goat?” the elephant asks.) His exasperated teacher doesn’t believe a word Our Kid says until green ET’s appear and tell Our Kid that they’ve found his pants and homework while on an expedition to capture a dinosaur for their museum. Chagrined, the teacher gives Our Kid a gold star on his homework and says “You can be as late as you like tomorrow.” Ross’ cartoon-style illustrations with their characteristic shaky ink line and painterly watercolors evoke humor that reinforces the absurdity of the tale.

A tall tale with lots of fun kidding around. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8127-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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