As Capt. Crave says, “Shiver me Shih Tzus!” There’s some fun here

PIRATE'S PERFECT PET

A petless pirate goes on a mission to secure an ideal companion.

When the fearless Capt. Crave fills out the “Think you’re the Perfect Pirate Captain?” quiz his mother sends by bottle, he finds he meets most of the requirements, save “Pet.” (The disability stereotypes “Eye patch,” “Hook,” and “Peg leg” are also criteria.) Consequently, he and his intrepid, diverse crew set forth to find an animal of superior caliber. (Crave is white, his mate is a black woman, and one masculine-looking white pirate wears a pink bathrobe and bunny slippers throughout.) Always making a commotion (“as good pirates should”) wherever they go, they storm a beach, raid a farm, and invade a zoo. Alas, there are lots of animals to discover, but each one is seriously flawed—if not actively aggressive. Ears are pinched. Pants are eaten. Limbs are devoured (fulfilling the “Peg leg” on Crave’s “to-do list”). Fortunately, when the pirates finally visit a pet store, it’s a naughty bird inside that proves to be the perfect captain companion. Rife with buccaneer-speak and salty seadog sentences, Ferry’s text uses repetition to its greatest advantage. Meanwhile, Myers’ thick acrylic and oil paints render both buccaneers and beasts in an attractive angular style while also hiding a multitude of tiny details (keep an eye at all times on the expressive skull on the captain’s hat).

As Capt. Crave says, “Shiver me Shih Tzus!” There’s some fun here . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7288-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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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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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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