A few hearty squawks and a brisk bit of exercise—what better way to start the day? (Picture book. 5-7)

GOOD MORNING TO ME!

Unlike her snoozing friend Mouse, Beatrix is a morning person…er, parrot, who rises both in full voice and fully ready to torment the household cat.

Beatrix knows she’s supposed to be quiet, but she loves everyone and sometimes just can’t keep it in. Poor Mouse—the slumbering rodent is blasted awake by the parrot’s hearty “GOOD MORNING, MOUSE!” and then must grab a fork and spring to the rescue when the feathered fiend proves a touch too slow making an escape after waking Kitty (a fat and wonderfully disgruntled-looking Siamese) with a doggy “Rrrruuff!” Nor is the morning rumpus over as, following a furniture-upsetting skitter through the house with Gracie the beagle, the pernicious parrot needs rescue again after falling into the goldfish bowl! Beatrix’s irrepressible character stands out as brightly as her green and gold plumage in the loosely drawn illustrations, which Judge has otherwise toned down with washes of pale color and sometimes indistinct background details. Mouse’s enraged response to Beatrix’s chipper “What should we play next?” results in an apology, a (brief) return to peace and quiet, and an affectionate closing nuzzle. Young children who share Beatrix’s morning hyperactivity, or even just her flexible relationship with the idea of an “indoor voice,” will certainly relate…as will, without doubt, their parents.

A few hearty squawks and a brisk bit of exercise—what better way to start the day? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0369-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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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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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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