Friday, February 8, 2019

Review - The Wonkey Donkey

The Wonkey Donkey
by Craig Smith
illustrated by Katz Cowley
Date: 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: library

"I was walking down the road and I saw . . .
A donkey,
Hee Haw!
And he only had three legs!
He was a wonky donkey."

Children will be in fits of laughter with this perfect read-aloud tale of an endearing donkey. By the books final page, readers end up with a spunky, hanky-panky, cranky, stinky, dinky, lanky, honky-tonky, winky wonky, donkey!

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Looking for a book that'll instill a lifelong phobia about birds in your child? Then look no further than The Wonkey Donkey, which somehow manages to make fun of amputees, the visually impaired, and those with gastrointestinal disorders, all while offering up questionable word definitions and making fart jokes. Oh, and showing a bird plucking the donkey's eye out on the third spread. (Completely unnecessary. The first time we see the donkey, we only see him in profile. So he could've only had one eye; there's no reason we had to see the bird carrying the eyeball away!)

I just couldn't get past that part. I mean, I read the rest of the book, but I was distracted, thinking about how little kids could potentially develop a debilitating fear about birds swooping down and plucking out their eyes. The rest of the book did little to redeem itself. It offered up stupid, nonsensical definitions of words like "hanky-panky" and "spunky". The former is often used in a sexual context today, so I thought that was a bit weird. But "spunky" was way off; the book tells us that it means "quite good looking". Any dictionary I've ever seen defines that word quite differently.

The illustrations aren't terrible, style-wise. But I really question the wisdom of that one picture. In trying to be funny, the illustrator may have inadvertently caused a whole bunch of children to need therapy.

I don't get what all the fuss is about. Maybe it works as a song, but as a picture book, it really falls short.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.17 out of 5

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