Not just for Thanksgiving, this should be a welcome addition to nature shelves all year round. (Informational picture book....

GOBBLE, GOBBLE

After discovering a flock of turkeys in her yard in the spring, Jenny continues to watch them throughout the year. 

With a simple text, mostly rhyming couplets, the young nature watcher describes the turkeys’ appearance and behavior as they nest and raise their young in the woods nearby. She notes particularly how they walk and fly. “Toms strut and puff to look their best.” In a departure from her previous straight collage work (Scoot, 2008, and others), Falwell augments her multi-media (cut and torn paper and found natural materials) images with overlaid block prints. Leaf prints add further texture. These charming illustrations also show other animals, including deer, chickadees, cardinals and squirrels. Plants and trees are recognizable as those of the author-illustrator’s Maine world, and seasons are indicated with a vignette underneath the text: apple blossoms, dandelion flower, red leaf, snow flake. Images of turkeys slipping on the frozen ground and the child’s imagined vision of them sliding down snowy hills add humor. The book concludes with “Jenny's Journal,” straightforward exposition offering more facts about turkeys for older readers. As she’s done before, the author includes suggestions for artwork and other activities. An “Animal Tracks” puzzle provides an appealing conclusion.

Not just for Thanksgiving, this should be a welcome addition to nature shelves all year round. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58469-148-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Hee haw.

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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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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

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