A journey of self-discovery in a unique environment.

TAKE YOUR TIME

A TALE OF HARRIET, THE GALÁPAGOS TORTOISE

A Galápagos tortoise learns that everyone has his or her own appropriate rhythm.

Harriet, a slow-moving resident of one of the Galápagos Islands, endures the scolding of her neighbors, swims to another island “to see the penguin parade,” appreciates the variety of animals over, on, in, and under the ground and water, tries out speed by riding on a dolphin’s back, and returns with a new sense of self-respect. This sweet lesson is made even more palatable with engaging illustrations of cheerful Galápagos flora and fauna, including flamingos, iguanas, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, dolphins, humpback whales, hammerhead sharks, spotted rays, Sally Lightfoot crabs, even centipedes and snakes. Created with block prints and watercolor and then digitally enhanced, they add an informational dimension, their light anthropomorphization echoing the personification of the animals in this imagined tale. The authors, a mother-daughter pair, have chosen to name their character after a real giant Galápagos tortoise. Taken to Australia in the mid-19th century, she died there, in a zoo, in 2006. Their language is relatively simple and the sentences short, making this text accessible to early readers, though unfamiliar plant and animal names may slow them down. Slowing down and taking time to appreciate everything around you is precisely the value this simple story reflects.

A journey of self-discovery in a unique environment. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9521-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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