Grizzle Grump and his odd squirrel friend are an unlikely but endearing pair.

GOOD MORNING, GRIZZLE GRUMP!

In this sequel to Goodnight, Grizzle Grump! (2015), a huge, brown bear has trouble finding food after emerging from hibernation.

The bear is the last animal to wake up when his squirrel friend knocks on the door of his den to rouse him. The squirrel carries a large, old-fashioned picnic basket and follows the hungry bear as he searches for a “springtime snack.” Using his sense of smell, the bear finds different types of berries, then fish, and then bugs, setting each thematic feast out on a picnic cloth. Each time it’s laid out, he turns away to look for the squirrel, who is always hiding inside the picnic basket, giggling. Mysterious, furry arms reach in from off the edge of the page to steal each feast, and each succeeding page shows a group of bears marching off with the stolen food. The increasingly hungry bear and squirrel sidekick keep searching, and at last they arrive at a surprise banquet arranged by the thieving bears, with the missing food arranged on checked cloths for the group to share. The cartoon-style illustrations in colored pencil have an immediate appeal, with bug-eyed animals, detailed woodsy settings, and enlarged display type describing sound effects (“trample trudge trample trudge”). The brief text is well-paced and punchy, with lots of motion and comical details creating a humorous if not scientifically well-grounded story. (The textual implication that all the animals were hibernating makes this problematic as an extension of science curricula.)

Grizzle Grump and his odd squirrel friend are an unlikely but endearing pair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-229749-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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