A delightful picture-book introduction to poetic devices.


Moofy, the monster who lives under the unnamed protagonist’s bed, is a complex creature of many, many talents.

He has quick reflexes and is a master of disguise. Despite his fearsome, sword-sharp teeth, he can also be silly, resembling a rug more than a monster. Moofy also has a softer side. He loves to help make muffins, to read books, and to gaze at the moon. Moofy’s tendency to create chaos does not deter his adoring fans, who shower him with attention and high-fives. Moofy, it turns out, is not just any monster: He is the protagonist’s cat—and their best friend. The cleverly over-the-top text utilizes a variety of literary devices to describe Moofy’s colorful life and personality, organically and effectively introducing young children to concepts like metaphor, simile, alliteration, allusion, hyperbole, and rhyme. The protagonist is endearing, and their affectionate perspective renders Moofy’s antics delightful to behold. The watercolor illustrations, which utilize a gentle pastel palette, perfectly complement the text: Each picture shows a few more details about Moofy, helping readers realize that Moofy is actually a cat. The protagonist is depicted with beige skin and dark, straight hair. The examples of each device are clear, accurate, and child friendly, making this book an excellent resource for an elementary language-arts classroom or an ideal gift for a young, budding writer. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A delightful picture-book introduction to poetic devices. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-88448-801-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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