HORSEPOWER

THE WONDER OF DRAFT HORSES

A photo-essay that shows the largest equine breeds— Percherons, Belgians, and Clydesdales—in actual working situations and as participants in an exhibition. Fascinating nuggets of draft-horse lore are embedded in the simple text: A century ago there were 27 million such horses at work in America; Percherons are descended from the huge medieval warhorses that carried armored knights; one horsepower is accessibly defined as the amount of force necessary to raise a weight of 150 pounds from a hole 220 feet deep in one minute (although that definition is buried in a note on the copyright page). The full-color photographs include close-ups of hooves, harnesses, and the strong, patient faces of both horses and owners, as well as working rigs of many types, from a plow hitched to a dozen Belgians, to a one-horse open sleigh. Particularly appealing are the pictures of foals and of young people feeding, shoeing, driving, and admiring these gentle giants. Workhorses have been overshadowed by their flashier cousins; it's good for young readers to be reminded of their beauty and historical importance. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-56397-626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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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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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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