While the vocabulary is certainly easy and limited (alone and chief are the two hardest words), beginning readers will have...

FIREMAN FRED

From the I Like To Read series

A title for beginning readers, this entry in the I Like to Read series follows Fireman Fred from the firehouse, out on a call and back again.

The napping Fred, asleep in his gear on what appears to be a wooden table with wheels, his hat on the floor beside him, is awoken by the fire alarm. The firefighters rush to the truck: “ ‘Run! Run,’ calls the chief.” Arriving at a house with bright orange flames coming out the upper window, the firefighters get the hose and extinguish the fire. They then rescue a woman’s cat (“Mew, mew”) from a tree and try to find the owner of a yipping dog. Failing that, Fred rides back to the firehouse with the dog, and the two curl up together on a real bed for a nap, though Fred’s gear is still either on him or scattered on the floor. Indeed, firefighting purists will cringe at Reed’s trademark gouache artwork. Her firefighters, rather than looking confident and professional, seem disorganized and even dismayed, their arms flailing about. There is no talk of taking care of gear nor anything about fire safety, and sadly, firefighting is reduced to putting out fires and rescuing cats stuck in trees.

While the vocabulary is certainly easy and limited (alone and chief are the two hardest words), beginning readers will have heard enough stories about firefighters to spot the problems. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2658-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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