Rather one-note; storytime may be lively with all the repeated phrases, but the story’s not likely to garner many rereads.

I LOVE YOU ALREADY!

From the Goodnight Already! series

Duck and Bear, the early bird/night owl opposites from Goodnight Already! (2014), are back, and this time the pair are the textbook definitions of extrovert and introvert.

Just as Bear settles in for a wonderful day in his cozy chair, tea, journal, and books beside him, Duck knocks at his door to take him on a walk, whether he wants to go or not. Saying he’s busy, hiding behind a chair, and repeatedly saying “No” to Duck’s many suggestions of activities all fail. Introverts will just shake their heads at Duck’s response: “You don’t look  busy!” The pattern continues throughout the walk, Duck bringing things up, Bear responding honestly, Duck repeating himself, and Bear continually telling Duck that he already likes/loves him. Doubting Duck doesn’t get the message, though, until he falls out of a tree and Bear expresses his concern. And though he may realize that Bear loves him already, he never gets that Bear just wants some time alone. The exasperated Bear and frenetic Duck, with their delightful and easily recognizable facial expressions and gestures, can certainly be milked for a few laughs, but they are basically the same laughs as in their last outing.

Rather one-note; storytime may be lively with all the repeated phrases, but the story’s not likely to garner many rereads. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-237095-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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