The brilliant combination of art and text will capture the imaginations of both bibliophiles and less-than-enthusiastic...

WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?

When young Spencer’s beloved books begin to disappear, the boy devises a plan to catch the culprit (although not before suspecting his toddler sister).

Muted shades of purple, blue and pale green are the background colors for the appealing opening, in which Spencer—in narwhal-themed red pajamas—is cuddled up with his mother, stuffed narwhal toy tucked under his arm; his and his mother’s wide, comic-strip eyes focus on an open book. “Spencer loved books. His favorite bedtime book was Night-Night, Narwhal. Sometimes he read it aloud.” No doubt it’s the kind of read-aloud done by 4-year-olds who’ve heard their favorite story many times. When Night-Night Narwhal disappears, Spencer’s father reads him Tenacious Todd, but it doesn’t quite work for bedtime: “But Todd was a toad, and toads were amphibians, and amphibian books were supposed to be for right-after-lunch story time.” The humor and charm continue as more of Spencer’s books, which he keeps so carefully on his shelf, begin disappearing—even Send in the Clown Fish! Astute readers will notice tulip petals and screws replacing the confiscated codices. Although the thief’s identity may be suspected, no one will expect the funny, sweet and original ending. Fans of Mo Willems will especially appreciate the family dynamics and expressive artwork.

The brilliant combination of art and text will capture the imaginations of both bibliophiles and less-than-enthusiastic readers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6741-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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