THE BLUES GOES EXTREME BIRDING

A band of five cartoon bluebirds travel the world in search of record-setting bird species—the fastest, best mimic, highest flying, pinkest and more. This third in a series, which began with The BLUES Go Birding Across America (2010), continues to promote bird-watching among young readers through the antics of bluebirds musicians Bing, Lulu, Uno, Eggbert and Sammi—each with identifiable characteristics and easily distinguished from the more realistic birds illustrated on the pages. Each of the dozen species is introduced in the narrative and described further through entries in a nature notebook and a field guide. “Extra Extremes” mention species that set similar records. Some of the birds may be familiar to young readers—the peregrine falcon, emperor penguin and ostrich, for instance—but others will be new. Their trip ends with a sighting of the horned sungem hummingbird in Brazil, an opportunity for the authors to promote an upcoming volume about the rain forest.  The band’s trip is mapped at the end on a world map with labeled continents; a handy list reviews the species and notes where they were sighted. The facts have been vetted by a birding expert, sources are given in the acknowledgements and birding closer to home is encouraged. This is a clever extension of the series, taking advantage of children’s interest in records and in Xtreme sports of all kinds. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58469-133-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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

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