A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle.


When will the last little chick hatch?

In a farmyard story laden with egg-cellent puns, anthropomorphic chickens Mama and Papa and their two big chicks (who are unmentioned in the text, appearing only in the illustrations) wait for their three new eggs to hatch. It’s very “egg-citing.” The first two eggs hatch quickly, but the third won’t budge. The babies each “hatch a plan” involving boisterous barnyard activities, but nothing works, “Maybe we just need to be patient,” suggests Mama, and then the family settles in to read while they wait. The chicks, and even Papa, start to drift off to sleep as Mama reads The Princess and the Peacock, Beauty and the Beak, and then the eponymous Peeping Beauty, but everyone awakens as they hear the chick in the egg start to peep during the last story. Inspired by the “peck on the cheek” the rooster gives to Peeping Beauty in the book, the family circles around the last egg to “give a little extra love.” This does the trick, and not one, but two little chicks hatch from the egg in a surprise ending. Waring’s bright, playful digital illustrations augment the text’s humor, but their addition of the two big chicks seems unnecessary and potentially confusing, since they closely resemble the first chicks to hatch, and with no names among the four of them, readers will be forgiven for not knowing exactly which chick is which.

A mostly (t)winning story to make readers cackle. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7272-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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