Poor text makes skipping this zoo trip advisable.

READ REVIEW

HOW MUCH DOES THE GRAY IN THE ELEPHANT WEIGH?

A visit to an unusual zoo sparks the imagination of an inquisitive little brown-skinned boy out with his white grandfather.

Boldly colored animals (and people) stand out in Hoogstad’s layered illustrations, which carry much of the book’s meaning. Each two-page spread (there are 12 in all) is quite busy, with fine, colored lines delineating environments on a predominantly white background. The boy and his grandfather walk through the gates of the zoo, and an array of colorful animals is there to greet them. The little boy wonders about animal spots and stripes; the background changes to place him and grandpa in an artist’s studio, where painters put spots on the giraffes and stripes on the zebras. An eye doctor’s office is the setting for two bright peacocks that are having the eyes in their tails examined. The ice blue polar bear stands among many tables of outdoor diners: “And when they’re faced with summer’s heat, / do polar bears eat summer treats?” Additional small pictures that suit the theme run around the perimeters of some pages, and the humans pictured are of many genders and ethnicities. But where the book’s design and illustrations enchant, the couplets do not. (Irritatingly, many are improperly punctuated as well as forced.)

Poor text makes skipping this zoo trip advisable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9359-5427-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lemniscaat USA

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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