An informative baby-animal book in which mothers are revered and applauded.


A sweet animal book spotlights mothers’ loving dedication to their children.

Just as human babies need continual attention, baby animals have a variety of needs and must learn different skills to survive and thrive. Narrated in rhyming quatrains in the voice of a mother reassuring her infant, the text celebrates the unique bond between a mama and her young while highlighting specific characteristics and abilities of various animal species. On the opening double-page spread, a human mother promises that “I’ll take care of you” as she marvels at the tiny hands and feet of her bundle of joy. A she-cat vows to share a cozy bed with her kitten. A mother bird assures her hungry nestlings that she will feed them bugs “to make you strong.” An alligator mom will teach her little ones to snap their jaws and use their little claws. A rhino will learn confidence from a nurturing mum: “Your skin is wrinkled just a bit. / Another month and it will fit. / Not everyone will look at you / and think you’re pretty, but I do.” Emotive full-bleed illustrations in glowing hues accentuate the tenderness of maternal love. The backmatter includes interesting facts about the 10 featured animals and photos of them. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An informative baby-animal book in which mothers are revered and applauded. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-53411-146-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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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. 28, 2018

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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