THE CLOCK STRUCK ONE

A TIME-TELLING TALE

Harris’s latest math-concept book (Splitting the Herd, 2008, etc.) expands “Hickory Dickory Dock” into a 12-hour romp throughout the farm. The mouse’s problem? Why, the cat, of course. “Hickory dickory doo, the grandfather clock struck TWO. / It woke the cat, who sprang from his mat, / hungry for mouse-tail stew.” And so the chase begins. Each turn of the page reveals that another hour has passed and another member has joined the pursuit. Readers can track the time on the diverse clocks—from cuckoo and grandfather to church tower and digital. Scanning well, this would work well for read-alouds, although the smallish trim size will limit the size of the group. Backmatter includes some facts about clocks and teaches children how to tell time by the hour on both digital and analog clocks. Hartman’s characters are full of personality—the cat is high-and-mighty while the dog is just plain loopy. Her colors reflect the passing of the day, getting increasingly darker as the sun disappears and the characters become sleepier. With its emphasis on the hours, this has great potential for the youngest audiences. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9067-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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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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