Sure to please both young children and the adults who read to them.

SILLY LULLABY

This lullaby will send children to sleep in fits of giggles.

After their child puts a pair of red pajamas on their body and a stuffed duck on their head, an adult caregiver declares that it is finally time to go to sleep. The sleepy child climbs into the grown-up’s lap, settling in for what readers are led to believe will be a cozy, traditional lullaby. Instead, the caregiver sings a song rife with non-sequiturs and nonsense words such as “fibblety-fisty foo” and “zoodle.” As the song continues, the lyrics become increasingly ridiculous, referencing chickens in the bathtub, sheep in the closet, and sneakers in the freezer. Despite the nonsensical words, the lullaby lulls the child to sleep, and the adult—who now wears the stuffed duck on their head—lovingly tucks their dear “zoodle” in for a restful night. With this effort Boynton (I Love You, Little Pookie, 2018, etc.) is at her absurdist best. The illustrations, which feature her characteristic ink lines and bold blocks of color, are filled with hilarious details ranging from the demeanor of a somberly mooing owl to the wide-eyed puzzlement written across the child’s face upon hearing the lullaby’s opening lines. The rhyming text is delightful to read aloud, and the musical score incorporated into the illustrations allows parents who can read music to sing the lullaby to an actual tune.

Sure to please both young children and the adults who read to them. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5282-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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