Here’s hoping that Peggy has many more big adventures.



A charmer of a chicken has a big adventure in this import from Australia.

Peggy is a hen contented with her life in a sweet, small (hen)house that occupies the sunflower-bedecked yard of a suburban home. Understated text reveals her daily routine of breakfast, play in the backyard and pigeon watching, and accompanying ink-and–photo-collage illustrations humorously depict her eating from a bowl, jumping on a trampoline and gazing at pigeons. The little hen meets a challenge when a gust of wind sends her sailing off the trampoline, out of the safety of her yard and into a bustling city. A stunning wordless spread that doubles as cover art then shows her walking amid a crowd of pedestrians, umbrellas aloft. “Peggy watched, hopped, jumped, twirled, and tasted,” and droll art expands on these simple verbs with delightful vignettes. In keeping with the classic home-away-home plot arc, Peggy grows homesick and hopefully follows a city dweller carrying sunflowers like those from her yard. Forlorn when this plan fails, she is heartened by the appearance of pigeons who helpfully shepherd her home. In a pitch-perfect resolution, Peggy resumes her routine, but instead of just watching the pigeons, she now chats with them, and the final page turn assures readers that she sometimes catches “the train to the city.”

Here’s hoping that Peggy has many more big adventures. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-25900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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