Like most desserts, sweet and enjoyable but not essential.

READ REVIEW

TYLER MAKES A BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Food Network star chef Florence and esteemed graphic artist Frazier serve up a third entry about cooking and food origins.

This time it’s Tofu the dog’s birthday, so his owner, Tyler, wants to bake a birthday cake. Boy and dog visit their favorite bakery, where Mr. Baker offers to let them help bake a carrot cake. The baker whisks Tyler and Tofu off on a magical journey to see where several specialized cake ingredients originate. The story, told entirely in dialogue, is not particularly compelling, and the ingredients, such as raisins, carrots and walnuts, are only mildly interesting as fodder for illustrations. Tyler helps bake the cake, but Mr. Baker decorates it himself and then brings an additional cake suitable for dogs to the party. Frazier’s accomplished illustrations use a flattened, childlike perspective, thick outlines and white space to create a strong graphic appeal. Tofu is always a source of visual comic relief, with humorous thought-bubble vignettes and indulging in such antics as barking up a tree or wearing a dripping bowl on his head. The birthday party is an amusing scene with a hydrant-shaped piñata and cavorting canines, though only one of the eight party guests appears to be female.

Like most desserts, sweet and enjoyable but not essential. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-204760-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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