Sweet but unsubstantial.

READ REVIEW

CUDDLE CLOSE, LITTLE KOALA

After a day of play with friends, it’s bedtime, but where is Little Koala’s mommy?

Lots of things seem familiar in the forest—is that flash of gray fur her mommy? No, it’s Mommy Wombat, who gives Little Koala a hug, but it’s not the same as Mommy Koala’s hugs. Is that a snatch of her mommy’s bedtime stories? No, it’s Mommy Platypus, who snuggles Little Koala close as she continues the story she was telling her babies. Similarly, the lullaby she hears isn’t her mommy’s; it’s Mommy Emu’s. And though kind in both action and in appearance on the page, these mothers aren’t her own. Suddenly, she hears a familiar voice calling her name: It’s Mommy Koala, and she has the “most perfect koala cuddle ever.” After hearing about all the ways the other mommies were like Little Koala’s mommy, readers may feel let down that Little Koala doesn’t get a story or a lullaby from her own mother. Still, it’s a mostly satisfying ending to an overall gentle look at being lost—indeed, Little Koala looks worried about her situation on only one spread, otherwise soaking in the love from the other Australian fauna. Readers who find themselves in similar situations will learn little from Little Koala’s experience other than to find another mother with children for help. The black type on increasingly dark backgrounds as night falls becomes difficult to discern.

Sweet but unsubstantial. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-187-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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

THE DINKY DONKEY

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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