A pleasant-enough variation on the perennially popular animal-noise genre.


A series of farm animals strut, wander, ramble, trot, and scamper across the pages of this simple board book.

“The rooster struts, / Scratch, scratch. // The cow wanders, / Thump, thump.” On recto, high-contrast black-on-white or white-on-black images depict the animals (pig, horse, and sheep round out the list). On verso, a brief statement about its locomotion appears along with the sound it makes in doing so,  printed in clear type on a boldly colored field. Both the verbs used and sounds attributed may give some adult readers pause. While no one will be surprised to learn that the trotting horse makes the titular “clip, clop,” how do the sounds “trik, trak” represent the “rambling” of a pig, for instance, or “trip, trop” the “scampering” of a sheep? These quibbles aside, this book is a nice change from the customary focus on animal vocalizations, and the phonetic crunchiness of the noises gives young ears good practice in distinguishing the different sounds that make up words. Companion title Wibble, Wobble takes the conceit to the ocean to introduce a seal, a crab, a penguin, a gull, and a whale. “Penguin” is misspelled “penquin,” but adult readers will likely blow right past that.

A pleasant-enough variation on the perennially popular animal-noise genre. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: June 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59572-755-8

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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