The Grinny Granny Donkey

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Craig Smith (text) and Katz Cowley (illustrator), The Grinny Granny Donkey, Scholastic Australia, January 2020, 32 pp., RRP $17.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781775435976

‘There was a sweet donkey who lived on the heath.

She was so funny with her false teeth…’

Craig Smith, Katz Cowley and their loveable donkey characters are back in the third comical picture book featuring the world-famous Wonky Donkey family. This time in The Grinny Granny Donkey, we meet Granny Donkey; a fuzzy, sweet false-toothed and perpetually sleepy grandmother donkey.

The cumulative tale unfolds quickly and rhythmically as readers who are familiar with the Wonky Donkey family know and expect it would! The book starts with a clunk and a joyous ‘Hee Haw!’  Grinny Granny Donkey’s false teeth fall out and so begins the story of not only a ‘clunky donkey’ but also a donkey who enjoys a ‘dunky-drinky’ with her favourite brew and biscuits, an afternoon snooze, and even a relaxing banjo session.

As the story builds and readers get to know and repeat Grinny Granny’s quirks, they are rewarded for their efforts when she is reunited with her son Wonky and her cute granddaughter Dinky from the earlier books. This sets up a nostalgic and sweet conclusion to the story.

As always, Smith’s use of quirky language and verse make for a rollicking read-a-loud and Cowley’s detailed watercolours add an additional layer of charm and character to the story. We can see the hairs on Grinny Granny Donkey’s chin, in her nose and the many shades of cyan and purple in her coat. Pops of bolder colours compliment the story and make it even funnier – the shiny, pink gums on Grinny’s false teeth, a lone flower bud behind her ear, and the purple tea ware and matching purple book cover.

Grinny Granny Donkey is a welcome addition to the Wonky Donky family. It is a standalone funny picture book to engage new readers and to bring back old readers to the donkey family they have known and have grown up with. Recommended for children aged three and up and especially for shared reading with extended family members.  

Reviewed by Lana Spasevski

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