Fans of this series will enjoy this trio of friends in their second, mostly funny, outing.

MY KITE IS STUCK!

AND OTHER STORIES

From the Duck, Duck, Porcupine! series

Loud and confident Big Duck, her clever brother, Little Duck, and their agreeable purple friend, Porcupine, return in this early reader with three humorous but uneven adventures.

As in series opener Duck, Duck, Porcupine (2016), Yoon uses word recognition, repetition, and visual storytelling to highlight these three friends’ adventures. The simple digital art, bold, with thick black outlines and vivid colors, expertly uses facial expressions and body language to support the text. The text is presented entirely in the form of dialogue bubbles in graphic-novel style. In the first adventure, “My Kite Is Stuck!” observant Little Duck with his blue baseball cap quietly saves the day when their toys are stuck up a tree. And he does it again in the third story, when Big Duck and Porcupine work together to set up the “Best Lemonade Stand” but hilariously forget one (very!) essential item. However, the middle adventure, “A New Friend,” in which this trio tries to make friends with different “bugs” (a bumblebee and a spider), fails to rise to the level of effectiveness and humor of the other two adventures. Reserved Little Duck does not talk throughout the book; but in a few special panels, he breaks the frame, looking out at the audience and making eye contact with readers.

Fans of this series will enjoy this trio of friends in their second, mostly funny, outing. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61963-887-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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