If you find yourself giggling at this goofy story, join the club.


From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A squad of foxlike characters named One, Two, Kat, and Four start a club.

None of them really has a firm idea of what the club should be called; still, their enthusiasm and wide-ranging talents are evident as they brainstorm. One cannot write but makes paper hats for everyone. Two, who knows every letter but can only write short words, creates a sign with the word a on it. Kat, who is able to write longer words as long as they rhyme with their own name, creates a sign with the word hat on it. Meanwhile, Four knows how to write “the perfect word for a club sign”: club. Though the ideal club name should be obvious to the animals based on what they have written, they ultimately land upon a comically long-winded one. The story’s final punchline may go over some younger readers’ heads, but the silly dialogue in this playful tale makes for an engaging read. The minimalist illustrations, created with hand-cut foam shapes and colored digitally, do the easy-reader format justice. Observant readers will notice that the color of each animal’s speech bubbles corresponds with the color of their fur, making their conversation easier to follow, and that One’s, Two’s, Kat’s, and Four’s tails each display one, two, three, and four white speckles, respectively. This winsome addition to the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series is bookended with commentary by co-author Willems’ beloved Elephant, Piggie, and Pigeon characters.

If you find yourself giggling at this goofy story, join the club. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07584-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...


It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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