A slim little book of clever rhymes and visual puns with an unfinished production quality and abrupt divide between phrases...

What's the Laugh Giraffe?

How many ways can you ask someone what’s happening? Uncle Mo (The Valentine’s Day Train, 2014) comes up with several alternate, rhyming ways to broach the question in this silly picture book of puns.

“What’s the Laugh Giraffe?” both the text and the title ask a giggling giraffe. According to the illustration, the creature is rendered helpless by the hilarious joke of a hyena comedian. Next, a toddler drops his treat, and the text asks, “What’s the cry cutie pie?” Seven unique ways of asking about someone’s day feature various animals and objects (a pepper grinder causes a large wedge of cheese to sneeze; a tooth-brushing crocodile brandishes his pearly whites at a mirror). After the final question, in which a sheep is counting sheep in his dreams, several rhyming words are paired in black-and-white sketches. A rock climber illustrates the difference between “steep” and “deep.” Clothing is a “pile” on a “tile” floor. The divide in structure is abrupt, and readers may feel almost as though Uncle Mo ran out of ways to turn his rhymes into questions. The rhymes themselves are clever but not so odd that young readers will find them confusing. The number of words per page should make this a confidence-building book for beginning readers, although the inclusion of some tougher phonetic words (calf/half) may create a challenge. The production value is underwhelming. The line work appears sketchy rather than finalized, so though the illustrations are well-drawn, they look unfinished. Despite those flaws, preschools and kindergarten classrooms looking to expand rhyming word sections may find Uncle Mo’s selections useful for discussions. The seven greetings included in the book make a great starting exercise for children to design their own rhyming introductions following the same structure.

A slim little book of clever rhymes and visual puns with an unfinished production quality and abrupt divide between phrases and rhyming pairs.

Pub Date: March 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5087-8015-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: 1970

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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