A very enjoyable read-aloud for would-be urban farmers and kids just needing a good laugh. (Picture book. 5-7)



Raising chickens has become a popular hobby in urban areas where some people have small backyards.

Winston and Sophie, younger brother and older sister, live in such a community. When their mother spots a sign offering five fowl of different breeds, they adopt chickens delightfully named Dawn, Divina, Daphne, Delilah, and Desirée. Sophie announces the news at show-and-tell, and Winston does the “Chicken Dance” on a crowded city bus, yelling “THE CHICKENS ARE COMING TOMORROW!” The siblings are ready to collect eggs, but there’s nary an egg in sight. The kids put on a play, provide music and stories, anything to “get them in the mood,” but nothing happens. They begin to interact with the chickens, learning their habits, a process depicted in eight circular vignettes on a double-page spread. When the children finally discover eggs, Sophie explains that different breeds lay eggs of varied colors and sizes. The brightly colored, amusingly detailed, naïve illustrations depict a white family, but there are diverse people at school, on the bus, on the street, and in their building. From “Sophie’s Chicken Chart” on the last page, readers can learn that Daphne, with her pouf of white feathers (Winston thinks it’s a hat) is a Polish breed chicken, actually from the Netherlands, and other facts. An author’s note provides resources on raising chickens.

A very enjoyable read-aloud for would-be urban farmers and kids just needing a good laugh. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30097-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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