The Barnes & Noble Review
"Hey diddle diddle" begins a favorite nursery rhyme we can all recite in our sleep -- all the way to the end: "and the dish ran away with the spoon." In this clever picture book, author Janet Stevens asks "What if Dish and Spoon never came back?" What follows is a hilarious adventure filled with groan-inducing puns and tons of silly illustrations.
When Dish and Spoon fail to return, their trusty friends -- Cat, Dog, and Cow -- set out to find them (but not before Cow and Dog suggest some hilarious alternative endings to the verse, all rejected by Cat!) As they begin their journey, they run into a Fork in the Road, who supplies them with a map of the area. Following the map, they meet up with nursery rhyme characters like Miss Muffet, Little Boy Blue, and Humpty Dumpty and question them about Dish and Spoon. (Among the book's delights are a remorseful Spider and a Big Bad Wolf decked out in an apron and bunny slippers.) They finally find Dish and Spoon, who have tumbled out of Jack's beanstalk and broken into pieces. But after a trip to Jack's repair shop, where they are expertly glued together, everyone hurries to make it home before the rhyme is read again.
This wonderfully silly tale combines familiar characters with a fresh, adventurous story line and spirited, funny illustrations, making it a must-read for every kid. (Amy Barkat)
...a concoction of visual treats and broad jokes...Kids will gobble this up.
In this clever takeoff on nursery rhymes, the dish from "Hey Diddle Diddle" runs away with the spoon and they don't return. The cat, cow and dog join forces to find them. "Stop fiddling around," the cat complains in one of the many puns that fill the text, to which his companions reply, "Don't have a cow" and "Doggone it." Large, humorous watercolors augmented by hand-drawn maps illustrate the journey in which the characters encounter a fork (in the road), a beanstalk and Little Boy Blue, among others, before the happy ending. It's great fun for those who know their nursery rhymes.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The creators of Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! here serve up a concoction of visual treats and broad jokes as Cow, Cat and Dog search for their missing colleagues, Dish and Spoon. After previewing a page with the famous rhyme from Mother Goose, the authors showcase an alarmed feline rousing a reluctant Dog and Cow: "EVERYBODY UP! They didn't come back!" The cow, exhausted from his jumping, suggests that they simply eliminate the lost duo from the rhyme altogether: "We could end it, 'and the cow took a nap until noon.' " Puns fly freely as the trio begin their search and come to a Hawaiian shirt-sporting fork (in the road), who says that he had spotted the missing characters; the utensil offers to "take a stab at" drawing them a map to aid the quest. Map in hand, the friends encounter an array of nursery-rhyme characters, including Spider, who regrets having frightened away Little Miss Muffet; and Wolf, dressed in a festive apron and bunny slippers, who attempts to lure Dog into a vat of boiling water. Additional stanzas to the original rhyme, which run along the sides of white-framed vignettes, help chronicle the ultimately successful hunt. Droll flourishes fill this Caldecott Honor artist's animated watercolor and colored-pencil pictures, enhanced by photographic and digital elements. Kids will gobble this up. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children will love this parody of the familiar nursery rhyme as Dish and Spoon run away and don't come back for the next night's reading. The rhyme can't go on without them, so Cow, Cat and Dog begin a search that leads to a wacky adventure full of puns and slapstick humor. They come to a fork in the road, so their first encounter is with Fork (who happens to be from the same place setting as Spoon). When they ask him to draw a map of which way Dish and Spoon went, he says he will take a "stab" at it. Though the constant puns and silly humor may be a little difficult for the adult reader to take, the five-to eight-year-old crowd will find it hilarious. The glorious, full-page illustrations are lively and humorous, making this a wonderful gift book for a special child. 2001, Harcourt, $17.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Cheryl Peterson
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A familiar Mother Goose rhyme is transformed into a rollicking picaresque adventure for school-aged children. The tongue-in-cheek humor requires a more mature reader to appreciate the wordplay and wry sarcasm of what amounts to a fractured fairy tale. This childhood standard begins to go haywire when the dish runs away with the spoon and the two fail to return. The cat, the cow, and the dog realize that they must set off in pursuit of their literary companions or their rhyme will be unavailable for reading in the evening to come. Their characters become quickly evident. The fiddling cat is a Type A organizer, the cow tends toward indolence, and the little dog is a cynical curmudgeon. When they have managed their interpersonal dynamics well enough to form a rescue party, they first encounter a literal four-pronged "fork in the road" that has indeed seen the errant place setting and agrees to "take a stab" at drawing a map of the folkloric kingdom. Little Boy Blue, Miss Muffet's spider, the Big Bad Wolf, and Jack and the beanstalk all make appearances during the quest. The disappearance is at last resolved happily, but not without a dash of danger and travail. Stevens's distinctive illustrations lend a great deal of personality and vitality to this droll expanded retelling. A familiarity with Mother Goose will greatly enhance readers' appreciation of this story but, even with that, some of the puns and double entendres may go over youngsters' heads. Still, those sophisticated enough to get it will love it.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick
This year's most uproarious romp gets under way when Dish and Spoon go AWOL. Soon, the Cat, the Cow, and the Dog are in hot pursuit of their pals, leaving a trail of fractured fairy tales and nursery rhymes -- not to mention outrageous puns -- in their wake.