Another sweet Boynton bedtime read-aloud for the family bookshelf.

JUNGLE NIGHT

From the Boynton on Board series

In the quiet jungle night, a snoring elephant disturbs the snoozing animals’ peace.

This takes its place in Boynton’s great bedtime–board-book oeuvre, next to The Going To Bed Book (1982) and so many others. “It is nighttime in the jungle. / The moon will surely rise. / All the animals are sleeping, / with whisperings and sighs,” the story begins. Each turn of the page shows a different dozing animal with its own unique sound. The tiger goes, “ZEEE-ZOOO-HAAA,” and the frogs go, “BROPP-BRUPPIT!” Set within Boynton’s assured verse, these sounds make for a particularly delicious read-aloud. “But sometime after midnight, / the elephant goes… // SNORE! // And whoever had been sleeping / isn’t sleeping anymore.” Boynton’s illustrations include her classic silly touches, like a mouse being blown away by the elephant’s snore, and anyone who has ever lain awake at night will recognize the wide, unblinking eyes on the animals at the end. The book also includes a link to download or stream a free copy of famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s performance of Erik Satie’s “Jungle Gymnopédie No. 1.” Perhaps even more delightful than the bouncy lullaby is Keith Boynton’s rich narration and Ma’s “animal snores” on cello, also freely available at the same link.

Another sweet Boynton bedtime read-aloud for the family bookshelf. (free audio download) (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5235-1360-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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