Caregivers who want to introduce their young children to this musical genre would be better off just playing them some...

COUNTRY MUSIC HOEDOWN!

A band of farm animals demonstrate a variety of instruments used in American country music.

A singing donkey introduces the players, which include a cow on bass, a frog strumming mandolin, a cat guitarist, and a horse on harmonica. Text fills the verso with onomatopoeic sounds to emulate the music (“Rinky dink tink!” signifies the banjo, for example) while the critter demonstrates the instrument on the recto (a monocle-wearing owl in this instance). The cartoony musicians look to have been created with the aid of a computer, and they’re a little too slick, looking out of place in the barnyard scenes rendered in earth tones. Many of the musical noises don’t fit the instrument (does an accordion really sound like this: “Tru tru, tru-tu”?). While the dobro is a nice addition, it is quite surprising that the fiddle is absent. The final double-page spread shows the country band in its entirety, along with a lamb, a chicken, a pig, and a bunny who dance along to the beat.

Caregivers who want to introduce their young children to this musical genre would be better off just playing them some bluegrass. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0557-4

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver.

EEK! HALLOWEEN!

The farmyard's chickens experience Halloween.

A round, full moon shines in the sky, and the chickens of Boynton's barnyard are feeling “nervous.” Pumpkins shine “with flickering eyes,” witches and wizards wander the pastures, and one chicken has seen “a mouse of enormous size.” It’s Halloween night, and readers will delight as the chickens huddle together and try to figure out what's going on. All ends well, of course, and in Boynton's trademark silly style. (It’s really quite remarkable how her ranks of white, yellow-beaked chickens evoke rows of candy corn.) At this point parents and children know what they're in for when they pick up a book by the prolific author, and she doesn't disappoint here. The chickens are silly, the pigs are cute, and the coloring and illustrations evoke a warmth that little ones wary of Halloween will appreciate. For children leery of the ghouls and goblins lurking in the holiday's iconography, this is a perfect antidote, emphasizing all the fun Halloween has to offer.

An excellent, rounded effort from a creator who knows how to deliver. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7611-9300-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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