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GOOD NIGHT, FOREST

Good for sharing one on one, this is a pleasant bedtime story for those who don’t already have enough.

Another riff on Goodnight Moon, this one is set in a forest.

The opening rhyme sets the scene. “Good morning, forest. / Rise and shine! / Good morning, maple, / Oak and pine.” The text welcomes, in turn, an assemblage of forest flora, fauna, and landscape elements to a new day: deer, bird, stream, flowers, cricket, porcupine, ferns, turtle, and skunk. The creatures play until the end of day, when a hush falls over the forest and it’s time to sleep. The illustrations are eye-catching, with darkly saturated colors applied in painterly strokes that extend off of the page. The images appear as if shellacked or polished on the glossy paper, and they gently exaggerate the features of the animals; all have wide, pop eyes (even the cricket), and the porcupine’s quills and beaver’s buck teeth are humorously hyperbolic. The ending, which features an adult and child inside a lit tent reading a book, is a nice touch. “Time to sleep! / All creatures do. / Good night, forest. / Good night, you.” However, although all the ingredients work well enough together, there is little about the book that helps it to rise above the rest and should be considered only in situations where there is an ache for another bedtime book.

Good for sharing one on one, this is a pleasant bedtime story for those who don’t already have enough. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-388-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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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