An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the...

CLICK, CLACK, HO! HO! HO!

Cronin and Lewin are back with a Christmas story to add to their popular series starring the barnyard buddies from Click, Clack, Moo (2000) and its many successors.

Duck is all ready for Christmas Eve, as evidenced by the Santa hat he wears in a close-up view on the cover. Farmer Brown is preparing for Christmas inside the house, hanging up stockings for some of the animals (but alas, not for poor Duck). Outside, Duck has constructed a zip line running downhill from the barn to the house. Wearing his night-vision goggles, Duck zips over to the house and then tries to go down the chimney before Santa’s arrival. “HO! HO! Uh-oh. Duck is stuck.” In turn, each group of animals zips over to “go up and unstuck Duck” and gets stuck themselves before Santa breaks up the chimney bottleneck in a hilarious, sooty conclusion. A final wordless page shows Santa flying off again, wearing Duck’s night-vision goggles. This is a Christmas story that has it all: beloved characters, physical humor, and an original idea, as well as a short, funny text that effectively uses repeated phrases. Lewin’s loose watercolor illustrations with bold outlines are cozy in the interior scenes and magical in the outdoor settings, with midnight blue skies, dots of white snow, and a hazy full moon that shows off Santa and his reindeer.

An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the Click Clack crowd. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9673-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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