Here’s hoping this is not Squeak’s only adventure

SQUEAK THE MOUSE LIKES HIS HOUSE

From the I Like To Read series

This simple early reader explores all the things Squeak likes in his house, the kitchen of a (mostly) unsuspecting human family.

Schories’ visual humor makes this slight story of just 18 words into a satisfying and complete adventure. New readers will gain confidence as Squeak navigates his house and words are repeated using the same sentence pattern introduced in the title. The only change is in the article-adjective-noun phrases that provide details of how the mouse uses familiar objects—toys, shoes, the dog’s water bowl, and snacks—provided by the unsuspecting humans who share his house. Bibliophiles will especially appreciate that “Squeak the Mouse likes the good books at his house.” The proximity of the mouse to two young children and a dog, all oblivious to the mouse’s activities, lends an air of daring and suspense to the mouse’s explorations of their shared home. Interjection of the mouse’s “Squeak” as he scurries about the kitchen and the chaos produced when one of the children (both present white) trips and spills her snack of nuts and raisins add both humor and excitement. Picture-book readers will delight in finding the mouse on each spread. Schories’ gentle humor and quick, clever mouse reminiscent of Arnold Lobel’s classic Mouse Tales (1972) should prove equally enduring and effective as both story and reading lesson.

Here’s hoping this is not Squeak’s only adventure . (Early reader/picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3943-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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