Some may flip through this book again and again, not even reading it, just enjoying the pictures and searching for gold

MICE SKATING

When readers open up this book the first thing some of them will think is: “Is that real gold?”

This picture book seems to be flecked with gold. It might be a trick of the light, or a reflection on the page, but there appear to be golden sparks flickering around the fireplace and golden shoots sprouting in the fields. Gold highlights would destroy most picture books. They’d look gaudy or distracting, but the effect here is so subtle that it might be nothing but readers’ imaginations. Gold fits here: the other colors in the illustrations are soothing—they’re the natural greens of grass and trees and the pale orange of wood—but they don’t look quite real. The titular mice in the story look like geometric patterns rather than woodland creatures. And it’s beautiful. The colors glow. The story is comforting but very simple: Lucy wants to go ice skating, but her friends would rather stay indoors, until she knits them warm hats. The plot is so basic that some readers may skim over it and focus on the glowing colors, and that’s a perfectly sensible option, because the text is filled with terrible puns about cheese: “Your teeth are cheddar-ing!”

Some may flip through this book again and again, not even reading it, just enjoying the pictures and searching for gold . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1632-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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