A cheery invitation to sock synergy when same-old, same-old palls.

ONE RED SOCK

A purple hippo in a polka-dot room learns that there’s more to personal style than matchy-matchy.

It’s a lesson worth the learning. In rhymes that set up each color for younger audiences to predict before the page turn, the portly protagonist rummages through her dresser, pairing her one red sock with…a blue one, then a green one, then a succession of other mismatches—none quite right—until she’s left with only one last option…polka dots. “ ‘Well, it’s not perfect. / And it’s definitely not red. // But at least it matches / my room!’ she said.” Young readers will survey the frustrated hippo’s increasingly cluttered digs with glee…and likely be unsurprised to discover (once she’s tottered off with a slipper on one foot and a spike heel on the other) that fugitive red sock crammed into a chair cushion. Mismatched socks pair up to demonstrate a broader point in C.K. Smouha and Eleonora Marton’s Sock Story (2019), but the suggestion here that “try, try again” with apparel choices (or anything else, for that matter) can lead to success, or at least some pleasant surprises, may inspire budding fashionistas to think outside the dresser drawer.

A cheery invitation to sock synergy when same-old, same-old palls. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-026-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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