Though the book ends with the firm instruction to “sleep tight,” its playful interactivity is rousing rather than soporific;...


From the Animal Sounds series

Lightning may not strike twice in the same place, but Long comes close with this companion to Hi! (2015).

Long imagines the sounds 14 different animals might make when being tucked in for the night. In his signature cartoon style, he exaggerates what makes each animal distinct, whether it is the pig’s snout or the monkey's large ears. Each pair's large, round eyes are focused only on each other. Although most of the animals are familiar picture-book residents, some are surprising choices— a ticklish hyena, a humming bee (which, oddly, lives in a wasp’s nest). Only a dog and cat are repeats from Hi! This time the words don't rhyme. Instead the sound each infant makes is repeated, then the grown-ups' sounds, slightly different, are likewise repeated. For example, the chick says, “Cheep cheep.” The mother hen replies, “Cluck cluck.” The words from the adult animals are usually a bit on the forceful side, as if they are gently saying, “Good night, go to sleep NOW.” The lion is the exception—the lion cub says “Roar, roar,” while the father lion purrs. Adults and new talkers will enjoy playing with the onomatopoeia and identifying the animals.

Though the book ends with the firm instruction to “sleep tight,” its playful interactivity is rousing rather than soporific; best not to save it for just before bedtime. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1366-8

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among


Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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