A rather meandering story about a whimsical cat and her chocolate egg.

CAT'S EGG

The cat has found an egg; now she must figure out how to hatch her kitten.

When the cat finds a yellow egg in her basket, she is convinced it’s going to produce a kitten. Her friend the dog is quite skeptical. After sitting on the egg for a while, the cat needs a break, so she tries to find a babysitter for it. In turn she asks the dog, the crow, the cuckoo, and the turtle to help her. However, no one is able to help her, and now, after being carried around in her mouth, the egg is damp and smells odd. When she takes it back to her house, the dog discovers that the egg is not a real egg but a chocolate Easter egg. The cat considers eating it, but the dog tells her chocolate is not good for her and instead kindly shares his dinner with her. Kastl’s illustrations are playful and soft, giving the pages an uncluttered feel. The spatial creativity on display allows readers to see the story from the animals’ perspectives. While Karthikeyan’s wry text develops its feline and canine characters well, the story misses an opportunity to explore the ways in which different animal babies are born or why some people use chocolate eggs on Easter.

A rather meandering story about a whimsical cat and her chocolate egg. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-8-19365-422-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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