This introduction to the sensory pleasures of music and nature makes a fine winter’s tale for storytime or bedtime.

A FOX FOUND A BOX

When Fox finds a radio while digging for food in the snow, he and his forest companions become transfixed by the music it produces, finding that it has the power to affect their feelings.

When the box stops making noise, the animals try to revive it. “But nothing would make the box sing again.” This newly recaptured quietude permits Fox to hear the “drip! drop! drip! drop!” of water droplets making a puddle. “Fox’s whole body moved to the drip-drop beat.” The other animals hear forest sounds, too: the whooshing wind, chattering geese, the “crunch-crunch of snow…[a]nd the gurgle-gurgle of the river.” Their senses quicken to all that their wintry habitat affords. “And every night, the animals would…let the forest sing them to sleep.” (Sharp-eyed kids will note that Owl is awake.) Adamson’s onomatopoeic text pays fond tribute to music’s power to evoke and shape emotions. His narrative presents children with lovely examples of nature’s own ability to sing to us, if we open our senses. Washy watercolors, accented with colored pencil against plenty of white space, charmingly portray the creatures’ expressions of wonderment, anxiety, and contentment.

This introduction to the sensory pleasures of music and nature makes a fine winter’s tale for storytime or bedtime. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3053-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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