An unusual, robustly Antipodean cast of animal characters makes this whimsical, charming story stand out

EEE-MOO!

A little platypus finds himself stranded far from his own kind, but with the help of friends, he travels back to Australia, where he is united with his parents.

The stork delivers a large egg on the opening endpapers of this whimsical story, the egg hatching on a farm next to a pig (“EEE!”) and a cow (“MOO!”). The baby platypus names himself Eee-Moo, and the farm animals send him on his way to Australia to find other emus. The resourceful creature uses several kinds of transportation to return to Australia, where a kangaroo, a kookaburra, some actual emus, and a koala help him find his family. Eee-Moo invites all the animals that helped him to visit, and they all ride off into the sunset on a bicycle built for eight. The closing endpapers offer an intriguing, wordless conclusion as Eee-Moo, holding another egg, flies toward a new adventure on the back of the stork. The clever plot has a fairy-tale flavor, with talking animal characters and Eee-Moo’s travels that transcend logical rules of time and space. Digitally composed illustrations have the appearance of delicate watercolor paintings with ink outlines. The clothed, anthropomorphic animals all appear to be male except for a hen and Eee-Moo’s mother.

An unusual, robustly Antipodean cast of animal characters makes this whimsical, charming story stand out . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0174-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed.

YOU DON'T WANT A DRAGON!

If you thought having a unicorn as a pet was hard, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried owning a dragon.

The young protagonist of You Don’t Want a Unicorn! (2017) is back, and they clearly haven’t learned their lesson. Now they’ve wished for a pet dragon. As the intrusive narrator is quick to point out, everything about it seems fun at the beginning. However, it’s not long before the doglike dragon starts chasing squirrels, drooling, pooping (ever wondered where charcoal comes from?), scooting its butt across the floor (leaving fire and flames behind), and more. By now, the dragon has grown too huge to keep, so the child (who appears white and also to live alone) wishes it away and settles for a cute little hamster instead. A perfect pet…until it finds a stray magical cupcake. Simple cartoon art and a surfeit of jokes about defecation suggest this book will find an appreciative audience. The dragon/dog equivalences are cute on an initial read, but they may not be strong enough to convince anyone to return. Moreover, a surprising amount of the plot hinges on having read the previous book in this series (it’s the only way readers will know that cupcakes are unicorn poop).

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53580-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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