cover image The Croaky Pokey!

The Croaky Pokey!

Ethan Long, Holiday House, $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2291-3

What looks like a mild-mannered, amphibian-themed variation on the birthday party favorite turns out to be a nifty little comedy about best-laid plans. Inspired by a tasty-looking dragonfly, a group of frogs decides to perform their own version of the Hokey Pokey. The first part of the song is familiar ("Put your right hand in..."), but each verse is intended to end with a snack: "Hop the Croaky Pokey/ As we chase a fly around,/ Right in the froggy's mouth!/ Whap!") The problem is, not a single member of the froggy chorus can catch the fly. Consternation and frustration build as a gator and an egret join in, with equally unimpressive results, and everyone ends up tangled in sticky tongues—everyone, that is, except for a sly fish. Long (One Drowsy Dragon) has a gift for conveying manic, obsessive personalities (he's a master of the googly eye), and he has found a great match in a song of relentless, rote cheeriness. The Hokey Pokey will never look the same—and that's a good thing. Ages 2–6. (Mar.)