The ending, complete with a change of sleeping venue, will bring a chuckle to lap listeners and new readers alike. Zzzzzzzz.



From the Pig in a Wig series

Virján’s porcine protagonist is back in another rollicking, rhyming bedtime book (What This Story Needs Is a Pig in a Wig, 2015).

This big-haired pig just wants some shut-eye. She knows the routine: tub, brushed teeth, combed hair, clean sheets, and a stuffed animal. All the other farm animals seem ready to retire too, but they come with an assortment of onomatopoeic orchestrations: quack, honk, bark, coo, ribbit, meow, neigh, moo, cluck, hiss, baa, and peep! Soon the pig is smothered by farm friends settling down in bed with her, making a lot of noise. Saturated digital illustrations are funny and easy to read, especially when the sounds are set in display type next to the corresponding animals. While “neigh” might be hard to decode for some new readers, the placement of that word right next to the horse’s open mouth makes it a snap. Each animal’s eyes reflect the happiness it feels at being in the room with all its friends, but readers will be drawn to the pig, whose eyes look exhausted, complete with bags under them. “Be quiet. Keep mum. Pipe down and HUSH! What this bedtime needs is a SHUSH!” With these words, the stern swine sends this menagerie packing. Easy words, a funny premise, and droll illustrations add up to a book that will satisfy, even after many readings.

The ending, complete with a change of sleeping venue, will bring a chuckle to lap listeners and new readers alike. Zzzzzzzz. (Early reader. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241528-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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. 29, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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