The book fails to address the roots of Goat’s bad temper or his turnaround, equating them with dandelions in the wind, and...

GRUMPY GOAT

An out-of-sorts goat goes back and forth between grumpy and happy in this slight tale with a murky message.

Formerly a friendly farm, Sunny Acres changes with the arrival of Goat, who has never had a friend before. “He was hungry. He was grumpy. He didn’t want to share.” He spurns the other animals’ friendly overtures and focuses on scowling and eating. But the lone dandelion in full bloom at the top of Sunrise Hill stops him in his tracks—it “remind[s] him of something.” He provides water and keeps the grass around it trimmed neatly. Most notably, when the other animals approach, he doesn’t chase them away or scowl, finally making friends. But his melancholy returns when the dandelion turns into a fragile puff that disappears in the breeze. Unable to cheer him up, his farmyard friends keep him company…until those scattered seeds bear fruit, bathing the hillside in yellow-flower sunshine. Helquist’s acrylic-and-oil illustrations fail to take advantage of the obvious interplay of emotions, the palette remaining overly dark throughout most of the pages. The cartoonish animals speak volumes with their comical facial expressions, though this adds to the facile treatment of Goat’s moodiness.

The book fails to address the roots of Goat’s bad temper or his turnaround, equating them with dandelions in the wind, and may leave readers feeling grumpy with the lack of a true problem or solution. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-113953-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more