Nothing fishy here: it’s a delish addition to storytime collections.

SWALLOW THE LEADER

Rhyming sea creatures count to 10 and back again.

“1 Fish // 2 Fish / Follow the leader. / Do as I do. / Splash when I’m splashing, / then I’ll follow you.” A fish parade starts with one and picks up one more, with each iteration performing a different action, often mimicry. They snap like crabs. They blow like a whale. They flap like a ray and puff like a blowfish. “7 Fish / Follow the leader / into the dark. / Hush when I’m quiet. / Hide from a shark.” They trot like a sea horse and hurdle a turtle…then, at 10 fish, the front fish gets hungry and swallows a shrimp. The second-place fish swallows the leader! Nine fish become eight become seven and so on. The final fish is a shark: “1 Fish / ‘Delish!’ ” However, after one massive burp, there are 10 fish again! Time for another game with a new leader. Smith’s undersea romp is an enjoyable rhyme that, while introducing different denizens of the briny deep, could easily be adapted to a finger play or body rhyme at storytime. Sherry’s collages place cutouts on watery, watercolor backgrounds; the main-character fish have googly eyes and goofy smiles, and they are boldly colored and outlined in black. Some final art not seen.

Nothing fishy here: it’s a delish addition to storytime collections. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-10518-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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