Here’s hoping that there are more kerfuffles and shenanigans in the future for this undeniably delightful duo.

PETEY AND PRU AND THE HULLABALOO

Quiet Petey and his devil spawn of a best friend indulge in a little chaos propelled by gleefully sesquipedalian writing.

Pru, a ginger-haired kid in a gray knit cap, carefully collects kitties on her way to her best friend Petey’s greenhouse. Inside, the serene chap is potting a little plant, happy in his tranquility. That bliss is upended when Pru, “feeling tricksy,” pierces the quiet with a caterwauling chorus of cats. Petey retaliates by inviting in a dog, but the inevitable anarchy is far more to Pru’s liking than Petey’s: “It’s a BROUHAHA!” They erupt into fisticuffs and find themselves falling to certain doom. Fortunately, they are saved at the last minute and make up with each other…until Pru feels another bout of mischief coming on. At every opportunity, Paquette works in a word or phrase that might be unfamiliar to her readership; these are helpfully set in bold type. Highlighted words include everything from “higgledy-piggledy” and “peeved” to “mayhem” and the fabulous “defenestration.” Rather than come off as jarring, these words blend seamlessly with the plot, aided in no small part by Ang’s pitch-perfect digital art. Even the endpapers do double duty as a glossary of the aforementioned terms.

Here’s hoping that there are more kerfuffles and shenanigans in the future for this undeniably delightful duo. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-544-03888-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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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