Sly, dark humor for little ones—at its best.

LION, LION

Readers must pay careful attention to both the words and the pictures in this quirky, humorous book about a boy who is shouting out, “Lion!” and a lion who is hungry.

The benign expression of the enormous, cartoonish lion on the cover and the fearless stance on the smiling boy, who looks to be African-American, standing nearby are excellent clues to young readers that this will be a humorous tale, with a relatively harmless carnivore. Even so, the lion looks quite menacing on the title page and on the first double-page spread, as he emerges from behind a building to see the boy shouting, “Lion!” Readers are meant to feel befuddled when the lion asks the boy, “What are you doing?” and the boy says, “Trying to find Lion.” The underlying feeling of unease continues when the lion leans in, eyes intent, and tells the boy “I’m looking for lunch.” Readers will be confused, and then delighted, as they observe why the lion, offered some luncheon choices, thinks that grass is too snappy, mushrooms too prickly and berries too stinky. The grand joke comes at the end, when the clever boy forces the lion to sneeze, and there is another play on the same theme on the very last page.

Sly, dark humor for little ones—at its best. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227104-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 35

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more