Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley (Hodder Children's Books)

Some books are read quietly, perfect for snuggling before a child's bedtime. Some books are read for relaxation, they're easy and flow beautifully as you read them. Some books are like letting a cat loose in a fireworks factory with a sparkler tied to its tail. This is one of those books.

"The Wonky Donkey" is based on an award winning song by Kiwi author and performer Craig Smith, and this edition comes with the song on CD for you to sing along to - to compliment the tongue-twisting noisy and frenetically paced book. Yes folks, it's virtually impossible to read this book slowly, to read it quietly or to keep your child still while it's being read to them!

No bad thing - there's a lot of room in the children's book market for books that stretch beyond merely being stories, but become a 'performance'. Some parents won't like this aspect of Wonky Donkey, particularly if they don't relish the prospect of reading aloud.

The story (there is a bit of a story in there, honestly) revolves around the titular braying fellow, the Wonky Donkey (so called because he starts off with three legs). The Wonky Donkey swiftly becomes a honky tonky stinky Donkey, and you'll have a flavour of how your tongue will be tripping over itself to carry on through the book to the very end.

Charlotte thought it was fun and amusing first time around, but this feels like a book that's destined to become staple (donkey) fodder for anyone who regularly reads out loud to larger groups of children, or who loves to make a song and dance out of the children's books they read. It's fun but I guarantee that as a parent you'll think of any number of excuses why that CD should never be played ever again once you've heard it once (come back "It's a Small World After All" CD, all is forgiven!) Just don't ever stick it on in the car :)

Charlotte's best bit: Stinky Donkey! Phew-ee!

Daddy's favourite bit: Trying to read the very last few pages as you get to the Wonky stinky honky tonky lanky cranky hanky-panky (!) donkey and realise your brain is moments from exploding!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Hodder Children's Books)

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