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


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 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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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...


A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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