Books by Leslie Helakoski

Released: June 19, 2018

"Woolbur is an excellent role model of self-confidence and positivity. (Picture book. 5-8)"
An excited Woolbur bursts out of bed on the first day of school, confident and ready to take the experience by the horns (an intention that perhaps inspires the exuberant hairdo he has created with red string). Read full book review >
BIG PIGS by Leslie Helakoski
Released: April 1, 2014

"Gleeful—and opaque. (Picture book. 3-6)"
These three little porkers behave like...well, you know, until their mama teaches them a surprising lesson. Read full book review >
DOGGONE FEET! by Leslie Helakoski
Released: March 1, 2013

"Alas, that perky pup can't quite save the limping story, doggone it. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A smiling, spotted dog relates to her owners only through their legs and feet in this visually appealing but rather confusing story about a dog's place in the world. Read full book review >
FAIR COW by Leslie Helakoski
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

Effie the cow's not dissatisfied with her farm, the grazing or giving milk, but she's always dreamed of being a blue-ribbon, award-winning, state-fair cow. Since the fair's approaching, it's a good thing she has a best friend like Petunia Pig, who knows just what to do. "First, we have to get you in shape," says Petunia. "What's wrong with my SHAPE?'"asks Effie. "Nothing a little exercise won't fix," says Petunia. Effie endures a hair-styling, a spot-dyeing, a hoof-painting and tail extensions. Once at the fair, Effie feels completely outclassed by the competition: "Your hair is so high," she marvels. On the way to the arena, Effie just can't resist the cool breeze, delicious grass or fresh pond water. The other cows think she's mad; Effie knows she's just being herself, and she doesn't return to the farm empty-hooved. Helakoski's first solo effort shows off her goofy acrylics, which are a terrific match for her frisky farm fable. A good addition to collections in need of some new barnyard or self-esteem titles. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

The feathered flibbertigibbets introduced in Big Chickens (2006) waddle out of the henhouse once again—this time with a hankering to find the farmhouse. Unfortunately, the first "house" they come upon has dogs in it, and chaos ensues: "Drooling muzzles dribbled. Frightened yard birds quibbled. Sharp teeth crashed. Pointed beaks smashed. Snouts snapped. Wings flapped. Until . . ." they run home. Encounters with a tractor and livestock-filled barn produce similar results and hasty retreats. The plucky pullets persevere, though, and catching sight of their goal at last they erupt into giddy, glancing, prancing, tap-dancing celebration. Pairing Margie Palatini-like wordplay to comical cartoon illustrations of plump, bug-eyed fowl egging each other on, this crowd-pleaser begs to be read aloud and will certainly set off gales of giggles. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
WOOLBUR by Leslie Helakoski
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

Woolbur is a free-spirited lamb; he'd rather run with the dogs than stand with the flock. Grandpaa says not to worry, but Maa and Paa pull on their wool all night long. Woolbur has trouble with shearing (he likes being wooly), carding (he tries carding wool while it's still on his body), spinning (he'd rather ride the spinning wheel) and weaving (he weaves his own forelock into his art project). When his parent's worry that he looks and acts so different, Woolbur repeatedly responds, "I know. Isn't it great?" Finally, his parents put their hooves down and order him to act like every other sheep. Woolbur, ever the individual, has a solution to this as well. Harper's lumpy, expressive ovines, especially the wild-wooled Woolbur, bring Helakoski's delightful tale of independence to life. The surprising twists in a text full of repetitive language is proof that Helakoski's barnyard hoot Big Chickens (2006) was no fluke. Hopefully she'll turn out a whole flock as fun as this. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
BIG CHICKENS by Leslie Helakoski
Released: Feb. 1, 2006

With wordplay reminiscent of Margie Palatini at her best, Helakoski takes four timorous chickens into, then out of, the literal and figurative woods. Fleeing the henhouse after catching sight of a wolf, the pusillanimous pullets come to a deep ditch: " ‘What if we can't jump that far?' ‘What if we fall in the ditch?' ‘What if we get sucked into the mud?' The chickens tutted, putted, and flutted. They butted into themselves and each other, until one by one . . . " they do fall in. But then they pick themselves up and struggle out. Ensuing encounters with cows and a lake furnish similar responses and outcomes; ultimately they tumble into the wolf's very cave, where they "picked, pecked, and pocked. They ruffled, puffled, and shuffled. They shrieked, squeaked, and freaked, until . . . " their nemesis scampers away in panic. Fluttering about in pop-eyed terror, the portly, partly clothed hens make comical figures in Cole's sunny cartoons (as does the flummoxed wolf)—but the genuine triumph in their final strut—" ‘I am a big, brave chicken,' said one chicken. ‘Ohh . . . ' said the others. ‘Me too.' ‘Me three.' ‘Me four' "—brings this tribute to chicken power to a rousing close. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >