Solidly built for enjoyment by construction kids and feline friends alike.



Construction Cat and her kitty-cat crew are on the job!

“Construction Cat wakes up at dawn, // Grabs her boots and tugs them on, / Buckles tool belt, nice and snug, / Gives her family one more hug.” She kisses her husband, who’s making breakfast for their three kittens, and heads out in her blue pickup. At the job site, she reviews the plans, works a digger and a crane, and pours cement. “Lugging lumber, pounding nails, / Flicking sawdust from their tails,” the construction team uses an array of tools, always taking care for safety. Then it’s lunchtime, and there’s a sweet note from home in Construction Cat’s lunchbox. More work in the afternoon…and the project’s done! It’s a great play structure with a golden bell. A surprise visit from the family with a picnic dinner makes for “A purrrrfect day.” Odanaka’s rhyme is jaunty and pleasing, and the construction-equipment theme is a proven crowd-pleaser. The gender switch of the hard-hatted protagonist makes Construction Cat’s tale an even more important addition to all collections. Hanson’s digitally rendered cartoon cats in human clothes (but no hair beyond their fur and, blessedly, no extra eyelashes on Construction Cat) are the direct furry descendants of Margaret Wise Brown and Alice Provensen’s Color Kittens.

Solidly built for enjoyment by construction kids and feline friends alike. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9094-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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