Save for small groups or one-on-one sharing so readers can linger in this visual wonderland.

READ REVIEW

UNCLE WALLY'S OLD BROWN SHOE

Wallace, author of The Cat’s Pajamas (2010), picks up where he left off, as the cover features a tiger sitting on a bed in splendid, red-and-white striped pajamas. On one foot is the old brown shoe that begins this often surreal but delightful fantastical romp.

Faithfully adhering to the rhythm of the “House that Jack Built,” the text introduces interesting things involved in actions or placed in settings that are unexpected. The shoe leads to introductions of a “bee with the smoochable lips,” “the fish with the spooky mask” and “the dog with a musical flair” among others. Although the text is entertaining in itself, the illustrations beg to be pored over. On most spreads, the left page displays framed text and a circular portrait of the animal or object newly added to the story. On the right is a lush, detailed painting executed in watercolor, gouache and pencil. Readers’ eyes will initially focus on what is referred to in the text but then wander into the dreamlike landscape, which is full of surprises that stretch the imagination. Is that a snow-capped mountain or ice cream? What are all of the green creatures in the flora doing? Why do some pages have puzzle pieces? The only constants are the shoe and “the button from the cat’s pajamas / That rolled away into a dream… // And became a wheel on Uncle Wally’s old brown shoe.”

Save for small groups or one-on-one sharing so readers can linger in this visual wonderland. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0154-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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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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