If you find yourself giggling at this goofy story, join the club.


From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A squad of foxlike characters named One, Two, Kat, and Four start a club.

None of them really has a firm idea of what the club should be called; still, their enthusiasm and wide-ranging talents are evident as they brainstorm. One cannot write but makes paper hats for everyone. Two, who knows every letter but can only write short words, creates a sign with the word a on it. Kat, who is able to write longer words as long as they rhyme with their own name, creates a sign with the word hat on it. Meanwhile, Four knows how to write “the perfect word for a club sign”: club. Though the ideal club name should be obvious to the animals based on what they have written, they ultimately land upon a comically long-winded one. The story’s final punchline may go over some younger readers’ heads, but the silly dialogue in this playful tale makes for an engaging read. The minimalist illustrations, created with hand-cut foam shapes and colored digitally, do the easy-reader format justice. Observant readers will notice that the color of each animal’s speech bubbles corresponds with the color of their fur, making their conversation easier to follow, and that One’s, Two’s, Kat’s, and Four’s tails each display one, two, three, and four white speckles, respectively. This winsome addition to the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series is bookended with commentary by co-author Willems’ beloved Elephant, Piggie, and Pigeon characters.

If you find yourself giggling at this goofy story, join the club. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07584-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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