A family romp that demonstrates what a positive attitude and a bit of resourcefulness can accomplish in less-than-ideal...

THE PICKWICKS' PICNIC

A COUNTING ADVENTURE

A family of dogs escapes the heat of the city for a picnic by the shore, if they can only get through the traffic.

The Pickwicks and their charming puppies, Pip and Peach, hit the road in the family pickup truck only to discover that many of their neighbors have had the same idea. They are quickly passed on the road out of town by “3 squeaky jeeps,” “8 hasty hatchbacks,” and numerous other vehicles. Just as they arrive at the box-girder bridge (a detail repeated several times), they and their traveling companions discover that their means of urban egress has been closed for construction. It is a massive traffic jam! Not to worry: Pip and Peach have just the right attitude for being stuck in a jam, and soon there is a picnic party for all the waiting motorists. Though the family is of canines, as they are fairly anthropomorphic and the parents are belted in, it will likely give many readers pause that the children are riding unrestrained in the bed of the Pickwick pickup. Nevertheless, with darling cartoon illustrations, counting concepts, and all kinds of things that go, this book is sure to have broad appeal for read-alouds.

A family romp that demonstrates what a positive attitude and a bit of resourcefulness can accomplish in less-than-ideal circumstances . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-83958-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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