An amusingly ferocious illustration of the benefits of sharing from the team behind the equally rodent-infested A Place to...

CHEESE BELONGS TO YOU!

Who knew cheese ownership could be so dangerous?

This edgy picture-book primer on “rat law” begins simply enough: An expressively sketched rat with a bow on its tail contemplates a big wedge of bright orange Swiss cheese, displayed as a cutout photograph. It turns out that rat law has a number of exceptions: “Cheese belongs to you. // Unless a big rat wants it. Then cheese belongs to him. / Unless a bigger rat wants it. Then cheese belongs to her.” One or more hungry rats is added as the pages turn, until entire gangs of nasty, bullying beasts mob the spreads. By the time “the biggest gang of the biggest, quickest, strongest, scariest, hairiest, dirtiest rat wants it,” the book—sketched mostly in red pencil—swarms with teeth, claws and angry red eyes. The faint of heart may be too repelled by the revolting rats to keep reading, but it’s a rare child who wouldn’t be familiar with the aggressive thievery demonstrated here. The giant typeface, the cumulative nature of the fast-building list of adjectives, and the “spot the bow-tailed rat” game that’s built in as the rats accumulate make this bold picture book a potentially hilarious read-aloud. Moral seekers, fear not: After the carnage, it is suggested that sharing cheese might be a more civilized option.

An amusingly ferocious illustration of the benefits of sharing from the team behind the equally rodent-infested A Place to Call Home . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6608-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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