A charming friendship story and great setup for future books.

BIG FOOT AND LITTLE FOOT

From the Big Foot & Little Foot series , Vol. 1

Curious about the Big Wide World outside his Sasquatch community, Hugo makes a friend who is of it.

Sasquatch Hugo’s bedroom is inside a cave and possesses the charming feature of a small stream running through it that he can sail his little toy boat on. It’s cool, but he yearns to see the Big Wide World. When he asks his smart friend Gigi if a Sasquatch might become a sailor, she says it’s possible but would be difficult—the primary rule of their people is to not be seen by Humans. Then, in everyone’s favorite Hide and Go Sneak class, which is held outside, a Human appears; Hugo laughs at the sight, drawing Human attention in a taboo-breaking mistake. Shortly after, Hugo’s toy boat floats into the cave with a Human toy—soon, it’s facilitating a pen-pal–type relationship that’s derailed when Hugo confesses to being a Sasquatch and Human Boone, a budding cryptozoologist, doesn’t believe him. How Hugo and Boone resolve this misapprehension and become friends in a joint search for the Ogopogo concludes this series opener. Potter keeps the third-person narrative tightly focused on Hugo’s perspective, and the details she uses to flesh out the Sasquatch world are delightfully playful. Sala’s drawings depict a homey Sasquatch cavern community, Boone as a freckled, white boy, and Hugo as a hairily benevolent behemoth.

A charming friendship story and great setup for future books. (final art unseen) (Fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2859-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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