Whether for hamsters or humans, a lighthearted how-to guide to being a good roommate.

HAMSTERS MAKE TERRIBLE ROOMMATES

The trials and tribulations of hamster cohabitation.

Henry and Marvin have been roommates for 205 days. Marvin is a cheerful, chatty, cream-colored hamster who enthuses nonstop about sunflower seeds, chatters away on the wheel, and incessantly interrupts Henry’s peaceful tube-crawling, reading, and resting time. Henry, the beleaguered brown hamster narrator, tells his tale of woe in a melodramatic soliloquy, complete with film-noir spotlights, tally marks on the wall, and many a heavy-eyebrowed look to readers. “On Day Two Hundred and Six, though…” Henry finally snaps, giving chipper Marvin a thorough dressing-down. Finally left in peace, Henry enjoys a day of silence until some clear communication from Marvin sets the story straight. Henry reflects ruefully, “I like the quiet. / But he didn’t know that. / He wanted me to talk. / But I didn’t see that.” The story ends on a sweet note, with Henry apologizing and both sides establishing new ground rules that meet both of their needs. Klein’s pithy storytelling both thoughtfully conveys the introvert-extrovert divide and gently teaches the art of apology. Alwar’s watercolor-textured digital illustrations are funny, expressive, and emotive, with a combination of spot and spread illustrations moving the story along. Charming endpapers show Marvin and Henry—before, and after.

Whether for hamsters or humans, a lighthearted how-to guide to being a good roommate. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32423-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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