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HELP WANTED

ONE ROOSTER

A cheeky tale worth crowing about.

Barnyard animals attempt to hire a new rooster.

A cow seeks a “focused and undistracted rooster who will get this farm back on track.” But the applicants have their own ideas. A white-feathered, caffeine-loving chicken offers to wake the farm animals up with freshly brewed coffee. “It will never work for us,” responds Cow. The other candidates include an inexplicably tuxedo-clad rooster who wants to ring a bell instead of crowing, a small brown bird whose lack of farm experience quickly becomes evident, and a translucent green blob who speaks a language Cow can’t understand. At last, the farm’s original rooster wakes up and crows; “the roostering part of being a rooster” isn’t very demanding, so he’s been devoting his time to playing music, which keeps him up late. The “solution” to ensuring that a rooster crows every morning will have grown-ups chuckling about the inefficiencies of the workplace. Illustrations dominated by rich reds and browns and cool blues bring the setting to life. Stegmaier gives this farmyard a clever modern flair; the cow is dressed in overalls and boots, her hair in a topknot, while the “extremely cool and helpful sheep” who narrates is clad in a sweater and a pleated skirt. While the jokes about the trials and tribulations of the job market may be lost on younger readers, kids will nevertheless giggle at the expressive animals and whimsical artwork.

A cheeky tale worth crowing about. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 18, 2024

ISBN: 9780451476838

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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