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BUFFALO WILD!

A satisfying ending ensures this nighttime adventure will soothe even the wildest child.

A young boy yearns for the return of wild buffalo, and his vivid dreams bring them back to the prairie where they belong.

Declan longs to see majestic herds of buffalo like those in the stories his grandmother tells. He wishes he could feel how “the whole world trembled” when millions of buffalo still roamed the land. Kokum explains that “now…those Buffalo live in the sky” but says they will return someday. “I wish those Buffalo would draw near and come home,” Declan says, and during a starry night lit by the full moon, his imagination allows him to free the “wild, wonderful beasts” from captivity. But the creatures wreak havoc on Kokum’s garden, and Declan realizes he has no way to control the chaos. “This land must have been less crowded a long time ago,” reflects Declan, and he calls on the Creator to take the wild animals back, even though “without the Buffalo, the prairie didn’t seem nearly as wild.” Through Kokum and Declan, Havrelock (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) explores the importance of buffalo to Indigenous peoples, while illustrator Whitecalf (Plains Cree) uses bold shades of blue, red, and violet to create a child’s view of mysterious nighttime imaginings. Both text and illustrations carefully situate characters in the here and now with details such as Kokum’s smartphone and yoga gazebo. The 2014 Buffalo Treaty is appended.

A satisfying ending ensures this nighttime adventure will soothe even the wildest child. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77321-533-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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