GIGGLE, GIGGLE, QUACK

Cronin and Lewin team up again for a sequel about the clever crew from the Caldecott Honor–winning, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (2000). This time, Farmer Brown is away on vacation, and his brother Bob is taking care of the farm animals, with instructions to follow the notes the farmer left behind. The mischievous action is led by the duck, the “neutral party” in the previous story, who has learned to print neatly with a pencil. Does the quick-witted duck replace all Farmer Brown’s notes with his own carefully printed orders? Do the farm animals get to order pizza, take bubble baths, and watch old movies? Do ducks quack? Lewin’s bold watercolors with thick black outlines are just as funny as those in the first story, but a duck writing notes with a red pencil doesn’t have the off-beat humor of cows click-clacking away on a typewriter. Similarly, the concept of farm animals tricking their kindly sitter into forbidden treats doesn’t have the panache of going on strike for electric blankets. The refrain in this story changes with each incident to reflect the three kinds of animals, again suffering in comparison with that delightfully repetitive refrain in the original story. The many fans of Click, Clack, Moo (both adults and children) will want to read about the cows and their duck friend to see what happens next, but like most sequels, the second story stands not on top, but in the shadow of the innovative original. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-84506-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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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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