While difficult not to compare to Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck (2011), this crazy cast of characters certainly holds its own.

MILLIE TO THE RESCUE

Cats get stuck in trees all the time, but how does a whole farm end up there?

It’s déjà moo. Millie the cow may have used her hiding abilities for not-so-honorable purposes in Millie Waits for the Mail (2007). However, instead of hiding and scaring the mail carrier, now she loves to play hide-and-seek with her barnyard pals. But when the chickens, pigs and goats take all the good hiding places, she needs to find the best one. So she scampers up a tree. This seems to be perfect—no one can find her—except climbing up is a lot easier than climbing down. Millie is stuck! After a number of failed solutions that include a catapult and a ladder, suddenly all the animals and the farmer are up in the tree with Millie. (Well, not the chickens. They are down below, munching on popcorn, enjoying the shenanigans.) Luckily, the promise of cake lures the mail carrier to the farm, and he comes up with a foolproof rescue plan. Now, if only they could figure out how to rescue the cake too....Steffensmeier brilliantly infuses illustrations with humorous details, this time with even more opportunity, given the expansive view from the treetop.

While difficult not to compare to Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck (2011), this crazy cast of characters certainly holds its own. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3402-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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