Books by Lynn Downey

Lynn Downey is the author of Sing, Henrietta! Sing!, Papa's Birthday Gift, Most Loved Monster, and The Flea's Sneeze. The author lives in Maryland.

Released: Oct. 10, 2006

This western-tinged tale stars Matilda the cat, one of the worst waitresses ever. She always gets orders wrong, is messy and uncoordinated. The reason for this poor performance is her constant imaginative storytelling. Customers easily forgive her work deficiencies for the excitement of "lassoin' bad guys or wrestlin' twisters." Burt, the doggy diner owner, likes that the customers are kept in their seats in anticipation of each creative tale. Then the health inspector cites the diner for all sorts of violations, all due to Matilda. In order to save the diner, Matilda straightens out and becomes the perfect waitress. This pleases only the health inspector; everyone else is dismayed by the lack of storytelling and excitement. When a robbery occurs at the diner, Matilda's storytelling saves the day. Cartoonish illustrations are toddler friendly with lots of bright colors and visual jokes, but the Western style of the writing seems arbitrary as the diner is in a city. For a humorous picture book story with western flair, try The Three Little Javelinas (1992), by Susan Lowell, instead. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

A goody-goody younger brother learns to get along with his sibling in this unsatisfying look at tattling. A neat, clean observer of fun, William seems to do nothing but tattle on his older brother, Wembly. One day, their exasperated Mama separates the brothers. The following morning, lonely William watches as Wembly causes trouble with his friend Iggy. They jump in mud puddles, use Mama's sheets as capes and make a tree fort with a sign, "No tattletales allowed." But when Wembly's acrophobia freezes him halfway up the ladder, it's William who saves the day while onlooker Iggy teases Wembly. And that's the beginning of William's participation in life with his brother/friend by his side. Downey's focus seems to be more on appreciating siblings than on tattling. Neither Mama nor Wembly explain to William the trouble with tattling, and so it seems that he has stopped just to earn his brother's attention. Paparone's acrylic artwork nicely illustrates the dichotomy between the two brothers. Skip the book—stick to a heart-to-heart talk. (Picture book. 3-8)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

Downey and Davis offer a different take on the subject of sibling rivalry for a parent's love in this hysterical look at a monster family. As Mama tippy-claws into each of her four children's rooms, she's met by the question, "Who do you love most?" Her response? "I love all my little monsters. But you—you are very special." She then proceeds to tell each child the qualities each has that she likes most—a sense of humor, good manners, creativity, and bravery. Each goes to sleep satisfied with her answer. Then, as Mama sleeps in her bed, the monsters tippy-claw around the cave preparing their own surprises for Mama to show her that she's loved the most as well. The gentle message that each child is unique and well-loved will appeal to all siblings who have ever asked this question. And the characters are just monster-ish enough to appeal to the side of children that loves all things slimy. Davis's illustrations, rich in color and detail, cleverly add gross and yucky things that young readers will love to discover. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
THE FLEA’S SNEEZE by Lynn Downey
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

A tiny little flea with a great big cold disrupts the slumber of the barnyard animals in this rollicking tale with a fitting end. Sprightly, rhyming verses recount the trials of the beleaguered insect as it struggles to go to sleep. A tickling cough, a few sniffles, a desperate request for a tissue all go unheeded by his barn mates, which include everything from a rooster to a frog. When the inevitable sneeze erupts, mayhem ensues as the other animals awaken with a start: "It scared the rat, / Who cried ‘Boohoo!' / And woke the cat, / Who hissed ‘Mairoo!' / It baffled the bat, / Whose eyes turned blue / And confused the cow, / Who muttered ‘Moo Moo!' " Amid the confusion, the sympathetic mouse that "the flea used for a house" finally gives the long-suffering flea a tissue. Downey's bouncy verses merrily skip along to the uproarious conclusion, which ends on a comical note as everyone, including the flea, settles down again—with the exception of the hog . . . "I think I'b godda sdeeze." Newcomer Firehammer's full-page, full-color illustrations perfectly suit the silly story. Brightly colored, the pictures are intricately detailed and are funny throughout, even though there is no real action until the sneeze. From the myriad of silly sleeping positions of the various animals to the bleary-eyed expressions on the flea's face, there's plenty to pore and laugh over. And kids will clamor to hear it read again and again. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >