Good for storytimes on honesty and sharing…even if Monkey and Owl don’t have those concepts under their fur and feathers...

READ REVIEW

WHERE IS MY BALLOON?

Can Monkey be trusted to look after Owl’s balloon?

When Owl asks Monkey to hold their balloon, Monkey’s excited. Monkey puts the balloon in their toy sock. They tie the balloon to their sock. They hit the balloon with their sock…and the balloon pops. When Owl returns and asks for the balloon back, Monkey tries substituting other items, but neither the pillow, the chair, nor the fire engine tricks Owl. After Owl punctures all of Monkey’s prevarications, Monkey comes clean about the fate of Owl’s balloon. Owl is so angry that while Monkey is sobbing, Owl rips up Monkey’s sock! Now it’s Owl’s turn to substitute items. Bernstein and Magoon reteam for this second Owl and Monkey (and balloon) tale, following I Have a Balloon (2017), this time addressing owning up (eventually) to mistakes made. Fans of Elephant and Piggie will be right at home with the humor and the repartee (although the entirety of the text is dialogue, it is not in speech bubbles). Though the tale might not model best behavior, young listeners will identify with the two friends. Magoon’s digitally rendered illustrations are bright, dynamic, and expressive, with heavy lines, and they reinforce the characters’ emotions nicely. The two scenes where first Monkey and then Owl are overcome will have readers in stitches.

Good for storytimes on honesty and sharing…even if Monkey and Owl don’t have those concepts under their fur and feathers quite yet. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1451-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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