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

READ REVIEW

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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