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


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 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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