As naps go, this is about as strenuous—and as funny—as it gets.

I WILL TAKE A NAP!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Poor Gerald the elephant—all he wants is to take a nap.

A bleary-eyed Gerald blinks out at readers from the cover, blanket and Knuffle bunny tucked in his arms. Piggie’s head pokes into the frame from the side at a 90-degree angle, hinting at the disruption to come. Inside, “I am tired,” Gerald announces. “And cranky. // I am going to take a nap.” Those declarations set off a characteristically hilarious encounter between the fussbudget elephant and his porcine pal. He spreads out his mat, lies down…and in marches Piggie, hollering, “GERALD!” Gerald explodes from slumber in alarm. Readers will not find it at all surprising, though they will find it funny, that pretty soon Gerald’s cranky mood spreads to Piggie, who decides that she will take a nap, too: “SNORE! / SNORE! SNORE! SNORE!” Several pages later, the stertorous swine wakes up, rested and smiling. “How are you enjoying your nap, Gerald?” Beside himself, the elephant rages that he is “NOT napping!”—but if he’s not napping, then how come Piggie is floating? And endowed with a turnip-head? Careful readers will have noticed the change in background color that cues this extended dream sequence—and they may also find themselves wondering whether Gerald could possibly be as rested as he seems when he really wakes up.

As naps go, this is about as strenuous—and as funny—as it gets. (Early reader. 3-9)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1630-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

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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