In this delightful import, two owls learn the value of friendship and how important it is to express their feelings. Hoot loves his friend Holler, just as Holler loves Hoot. But although they play together every day, they are too shy to say, “I love you.” One night, the smaller Hoot is blown away by a gust of wind. Holler thinks his best friend doesn’t want to play with a big owl like him anymore, and is too sad to call out. Both are sorry they didn’t tell the other how much they enjoyed each other’s company. They search quietly, still not ready to express themselves. Finally, Holler seeks the aid of the Wise Owl, who tells him he must be brave and call out loudly or he will never find Hoot. So Holler goes out and looks in all their favorite haunts, getting louder and louder with each stop. In a touching ending, the two are reunited and never again have trouble telling each other how they feel. Rolia’s debut as an illustrator for children is a big success. The characters dominate every scene, dwarfing the background. At the same time, they are simply drawn, with just their main traits—the owls’ feathers, beaks, and feet, the rabbits’ ears and tails, the badgers’ characteristic black and white faces—so as not to detract from the emotion in the story. Brown captures young children’s feelings perfectly, with all the doubts and joys they feel in their friendships. Many a bedtime ritual in the future will end with “I love you-hoo,” for those children who are lucky enough to hear this lesson. (Picture book 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81417-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2001

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Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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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. 29, 2018

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