GILLY MARTIN THE FOX

As Hunter notes, this is ``a much-condensed but nevertheless faithful retelling'' of a Scottish Highland tale, recorded in Gaelic and published in English in 1860. It's the Prince of Alban's good luck that the shape-changer fox likes nothing better than ``poking his sharp nose into other people's affairs''; the prince, under a witch's spell, has been sent on an impossible quest, and even if he succeeds he expects to be put to ``a terrible death.'' Fortunately, Gilly Martin goes along with the prince to offer advice each time a goal eludes his grasp and he must undertake yet another trial. A five-headed giant, the Seven Big Women of Jura, and the King of Erin are among those who must be tricked; on the return journey (with Gilly Martin becoming a boat), the prince collects a princess and the several magical treasures he sought. Hunter's narration is tangy and swift, though the tale is so richly eventful that one wonders what lore and language have been omitted to satisfy the contemporary craving for brevity. McDermott's bright, tidily outlined illustrations strike a nice balance between popular appeal and an appropriately medieval flavor. A lively and attractive offering. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 1994

ISBN: 1-56282-517-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more