A fascinating look at dads in the animal world who behave similarly to human dads.

READ REVIEW

WILD ABOUT DADS

Three human dads bookend this list of things animal dads do for their children, and readers will find them all to be very familiar.

“Dads can help you reach up high, // and help to keep you warm and dry.” These two double-page spreads show, first, a marmoset with a baby on his back reaching for some red berries and then penguin dads with their chicks on their feet. Some anthropomorphization creeps in with eagle dads, who “like fishing,” and prairie dog dads, who enjoy “playing games, like hide-and-seek.” Among the author’s unusual animal choices are pelicans, sandhill cranes, African wild dogs, poison dart frogs, and bearded emperor tamarins. A final spread in the backmatter shows a vignette illustration of each species and one to three sentences of further information about the animals and their dad duties: “Sun-grebe dads carry young hatchlings in a pocket under their wings to keep them safe” (disappointingly, this is inaccurately depicted like a kangaroo’s pouch); “Marmoset dads groom, feed, and carry their babies on their backs.” This info will fascinate those young children with the patience to sit still to listen to this text-dense spread after the terse couplets. Alvarez’s full-bleed illustrations lightly anthropomorphize her animal subjects with smiles and some postures. The bright colors will attract an audience.

A fascinating look at dads in the animal world who behave similarly to human dads. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31574-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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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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