Bad bunny. good book. (Early reader. 5-8)

HI, JACK!

From the Jack Book series , Vol. 1

A bunny behaves badly. But is he all bad?

In the first of three chapters, an unnamed narrator immediately breaks the fourth wall and introduces a bunny named Jack (presumably a jackrabbit, given his name). Ever the friendly, pizza-loving mammal, Jack waves a cheerful hello to readers. But the mood shifts when the Lady comes along. Jack descends from his treehouse to snatch the elderly human woman’s purse. “Bad Jack!” scolds the narrator. “Jack, give that back!” Jack does—but not before using the Lady’s lipstick on himself! Subsequent chapters detail Jack’s further misbehaviors involving a farm dog named Rex and another encounter with the Lady in her home. The interplay between Barnett’s verbal and Pizzoli’s visual humor results in rollicking surprises at almost every page turn. Repetition and a total word count of fewer than 90 words (at most 17 per page) provide ample support (and entertainment) to emerging readers. Pizzoli’s technique combines firm black outlines, solid fill, and printlike backgrounds, creating textured, wonderfully expressive cartoon illustrations. Sequel Jack Blasts Off! publishes simultaneously and takes the duo’s winning formula into an outer-space setting—proving that good manners really do transcend species. Both books end with instructions on how to draw various characters. Adult readers may note that Jack’s too-consistent wickedness combines with minimal consequences to send mixed messages.

Bad bunny. good book. (Early reader. 5-8) (Mostly) good book(Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-11379-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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