A beautifully illustrated and gratifying story of woodland-creature comradeship and determination.


Izzy, a chipmunk, braves a storm, relying on her friends’ resourcefulness to get to Bear’s house.

When Izzy receives a note from Bear asking her to come over right away, she can’t refuse. As she steps out the door, it begins to snow. As the snow gets thicker, she finds it more and more difficult to find her way. Soon, a squirrel in a sweater comes to her rescue and takes her across the treetops to get to Bear’s. When it gets too slippery, a duck in a Peruvian hat starts to fly them all there. When it gets too difficult to see, a sweater-wearing raccoon carries them all (one perched atop the other, “Musicians of Bremen” style) by leaping across the snow. After a long journey in the blizzard and assistance from this accumulation of friends, Izzy finally makes it to Bear’s house for a delightful surprise. Lies creates a charming, heartwarming story of friendship, goodwill, and perseverance. His attention to the tiniest details—seemingly each hair on the raccoon’s tail can be descried, not to mention the profusion and variety of knitwear—elevates the book above the ordinary. The landscape illustrations are exquisite. Often illustrating the intensifying blizzard on double-page spreads, he draws readers in and puts them in the middle of the storm.

A beautifully illustrated and gratifying story of woodland-creature comradeship and determination. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-94882-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)


Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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