Everyone has some secret powers hidden inside.

SUPER ROOSTER SAVES THE DAY

Ralph the rooster longs to be a superhero.

As evidenced by the many comic books scattered about his roost (along with Captain Eggplant and Shark Man posters), Ralph is thrilled by daring rescues and super strengths. He likes to believe he has some superpowers of his own. Unfortunately, they lack a bit of greatness. “He could crow and make the sun rise…but only when it wasn’t raining.” He is able to fly…but not very far. The other animals on the farm are not amused. In language littered with puns, they bemoan Ralph’s active imagination. “He’s udderly ridiculous,” says Caroline the cow. “You’re not pulling the wool over my eyes,” says Sheila the sheep. But one animal is Ralph’s best friend: Rosie the pig. Rosie is the most encouraging sidekick ever. When Ralph hears “The Chicken Dance” on the radio for the first time, Rosie hollers: “That dance is your super-duper rooster booster!” Super strength charges through Ralph as soon as he does all the moves! Unfortunately, he still has trouble judging what is a true disaster and what is not. Regardless, Ralph is ready. The amusing and bouncy refrain is a read-aloud treat: “Cheep-cheep-cheep! / Flap-flap-flap! / Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, / and a clap-clap-clap!” McClurkan’s uncomplicated farm scenes emphasize the animals’ expressive faces (especially George the goat’s). (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 47% of actual size.)

Everyone has some secret powers hidden inside. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0778-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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...

GRUMPY MONKEY

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 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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