Don’t wait until it’s freezing to share Turkey’s tongue-testing tale of wordplay and kindness.

COLD TURKEY

A f-f-fun f-f-friendship frolic!

It’s 10 degrees outside when Turkey wakes up cold. Cold Turkey! Get it? The puns and humorous wordplay keep coming. With beak-chattering alliterative commentary, Turkey adds layers and layers of warm clothing. “I need to b-b-bundle up / before I f-f-freeze!” On a tour of the barnyard, Turkey finds his friends are in distress, too. Sheep is “sh-sh-shivering” but still making puns. “I can’t baa-lieve this storm’s so baad!” Cow declares, “This wind is a cow-tastrophy! / It’s udderly insane.” Pig “p-p-pok[es] out / from p-p-piles of straw. / ‘My body’s numb, from snout to bum.’ ” The compassionate friend that he is, Turkey leaves his hat with Sheep, his mittens with Chicken, his scarf with Horse, his sweater to warm Cow’s udder, and his snow pants for Pig. Turkey’s “loaned out all his loot. / He wobble[s] homeward, cold and bare, / in just his birthday suit! / Turkey t-t-totter[s]. / ‘What a fierce, ferocious storm! / I may be getting frostbite, / but at least my heart feels warm.’ ” But his friends make sure more than just Turkey’s heart is warm by building a fire that comforts them all. Otis’ genial cartoons add touches of humor on their own as Turkey distributes his layers to his friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Don’t wait until it’s freezing to share Turkey’s tongue-testing tale of wordplay and kindness. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-43011-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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Chilling in the best ways.

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CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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