Here’s hoping that this welcome return presages plenty of additional adventures.


From the Pig Kahuna series

Fans of porcine siblings Fergus and Dink’s first outing will be thrilled to welcome them back to the beach, while pirate-loving listeners (familiar or not) will be particularly pleased.

Once again, Sattler offers a fresh and clever take on a perennially popular theme. This time, it’s Fergus’ turn to help Dink have a good day. Waking up from a nap on Dave, the surfboard that started it all, Dink is grumpy. He doesn’t want to wade (the water is too cold) or build a sand castle (his unsuccessful efforts are too close to the water’s edge). Even his snack is ruined when Fergus unwittingly flings sand on him. Fergus’ find—a pirate hat—proves temporarily intriguing, but Dink still winds up stomping along the shore. Slimed with seaweed and nipped by a crab, he comes careening back to his brother only to find a picture-perfect pirate ship made of sand and himself made one of the crew. Brisk dialogue gains extra humor from the bright and bouncy illustrations, created with acrylics and colored pencil. The brothers’ expressive faces, especially their eyes, which roll, squint and smile, add emotional heft. Simple backgrounds allow the boys to claim center stage, while textured strokes effectively evoke the broad swath of sand and the swirling sea.

Here’s hoping that this welcome return presages plenty of additional adventures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61963-200-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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