“Slow Loris wasn’t his real name but that was what everyone called him. A slow loris is just a type of animal. Slow Loris was a slow loris. He really was . . . very . . . slow.” In his debut work for children, Deacon reveals the secret nightlife of the lemur-like creature and, in so doing, creates an original allegory about diversity, understanding, and acceptance. Rendered in mysterious tones of gray, black, and brown, a series of six vignettes first shows Loris barely roused as visitors troop by, then imperceptibly reaching for food left by the zookeeper. The full-bleed illustration that follows shows Loris loping towards the orange fruit looming large in the foreground. “It took Loris ten minutes to eat a satsuma,” reads the hand-lettered text. But readers soon learn Loris’s secret: “At night . . . Loris got up and did things . . . FAST . . .” An out-of-focus illustration foreshadows the frantic activity to come; a gatefold shows Loris’s fellow zoo dwellers peeking inside the cage and opens to reveal Loris banging on an overturned pot. The next night a pack of animals join Loris for a raucous party. Deacon’s hilarious illustration finds Loris at center stage, surrounded by revelers, wearing a fringed hat, and dancing with his thumbs up. What happens next is no surprise: pooped from a night of partying, all the animals join Loris in a slow and sleepy day. Pair this with Lynn Munsinger’s Score One for the Sloths (2001) and learn to take it easy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-929132-27-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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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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