Zip to get this Zapped Jack book.

JACK GETS ZAPPED!

From the Jack Book series , Vol. 8

A rad addition to Barnett and Pizzoli’s early readers about Jack the rabbit, the Lady, and Rex the dog.

One rainy day, the Lady (who presents White) and Rex settle in for a nice day of reading. Jack doesn’t join them in this cozy activity, as he’s too busy enjoying his video game, “Rad Kid.” Then in a fantastic twist, lightning strikes, and, as the title foreshadows, Jack gets zapped into the game. An unlikely hero emerges as the Lady picks up the game controls and plays the game to save Zapped Jack, who, after some in-game fun, is defeated by the Boss. Pizzoli cleverly alters his illustrations for the scenes of the game within the book to make them appear pixelated, and Barnett’s funny, controlled text makes the story accessible to emergent readers. The text describing the Lady’s acquisition of gaming skills is particularly chuckleworthy: “You got this! Now go! Hop over that pit! Press A and RIGHT! / Oh. You fell in. // That’s OK! You get three lives. So you have two lives left! Just stomp on this bad guy and— / You died again.” Gaming isn’t vilified in this story, nor is reading elevated as the better activity, which makes it all the more likely that readers who prefer gaming over reading will actually enjoy this title. The backmatter gives directions for drawing Zapped Jack, and readers may well wish there were an accompanying game, too. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

Zip to get this Zapped Jack book. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11401-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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