Craig Smith's The Wonky Donkey
illustrated by Katz Cowley
Book review by Susan Syddall
Who knew a spunky, cranky, stinky dinky, honky tonky donkey could be so endearing?
When you think of cute, adorable story book creatures that tug on your heart strings, you probably don't think of a smelly, scraggly old donkey, with yellow teeth!
That's because you probably haven't read "The Wonky Donkey" yet.
This is a fantastic children's picture book which features a donkey that is bursting with character.
This particular donkey has only three legs and one eye. He smells really, really bad and is cranky because he hasn't had his coffee. However, somehow, you still end up liking him.
The story starts with the phrase, "I was walking down the road and I saw a donkey." As the pages go by, we learn more about the donkey, for each page reveals a different characteristic.
By the end of the book, we have learnt this donkey is a spunky, hanky-panky, cranky, stinky-dinky, lanky, honky-tonky, winky, wonky donkey! This book definitely plays with words and fosters a love of language within children!
I love the way the book uses repetitive text. Repetitive text allows young readers to predict what is coming next so they can begin to join in the reading process. This is an effective teaching strategy to use with learner readers.
The story is perfect for reading aloud to a group of children. Although, a word of warning - it's probably better to have a practise run on your own first so you can get through the tongue twisters!
The book provides plenty of scope for varying intonation and pace as well as encouraging children to join in reading some of the reoccurring phrases such as "Hee Haw!"
A second character is featured in the story - a little, yellow bird. As a language extension activity for this book, children could be encouraged to look at the illustrations and tell the story from the perspective of the bird.
The illustrations are endearing - full of colour and character. Let's face it - they have to be or how else would we all end up liking such a winky, wonky donkey!
Finally, you should know that the story comes with its own award-winning song which can be downloaded. The song in itself is worth listening to. It will definitely make you giggle.
The Wonky Donkey reinforces the principle that you don't have to be perfectly cute, adorable, pink and fluffy to be loveable. We're all different and have different abilities and characteristics.
As for us, well I've now read The Wonky Donkey so many times; it would be fair to say that I've mastered the tongue twisters. Just as well as I'm sure that we've not finished with the book yet!
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