A cozy episode with a little instruction and a lot of excitement.

MY LITTLE CHICK

A child learns that nurturing an egg takes a lot of care and patience.

Hiding out in a henhouse, young Lena gets an excellent view (as do readers) of an egg being laid, and when the hen wanders off, Lena carries it into the house. A few moments later, the egg is on the floor in pieces! Lena’s mom briskly explains that not all eggs hatch anyway, and aside from leaving them to the hen, the best way to care for them is with an incubator. Lena’s family pitches in to build one…and then comes the long, 21-day wait. Tharlet mostly leaves Lena and the rest of the pale-skinned human family out of the lively, close-up illustrations, focusing instead on the humorously knowing-looking hens and on the egg in the incubator, drawn by Lena on a day-by-day calendar decorated with a face and being properly turned. At the appointed time (“This is it!!”), a small crack gets longer and longer, until the shell at last falls away to reveal a cute, fuzzy, larger-than-life chick: “so soft, so sweet—what a wonder!” Being more about that wonder than embryonic development or chicken husbandry, the episode ends with Lena carrying the chick outside to join fellow hatchlings clustered around a welcoming hen, but a URL points to directions for constructing a simple incubator.

A cozy episode with a little instruction and a lot of excitement. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-988-8341-74-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history.

WOODLAND DREAMS

A sonorous, soporific invitation to join woodland creatures in bedding down for the night.

As in her Moon Babies, illustrated by Amy Hevron (2019), Jameson displays a rare gift for harmonious language and rhyme. She leads off with a bear: “Come home, Big Paws. / Berry picker / Honey trickster / Shadows deepen in the glen. / Lumber back inside your den.” Continuing in the same pattern, she urges a moose (“Velvet Nose”), a deer (“Tiny Hooves”), and a succession of ever smaller creatures to find their nooks and nests as twilight deepens in Boutavant’s woodsy, autumnal scenes and snow begins to drift down. Through each of those scenes quietly walks an alert White child (accompanied by an unusually self-controlled pooch), peering through branches or over rocks at the animals in the foregrounds and sketching them in a notebook. The observer’s turn comes round at last, as a bearded parent beckons: “This way, Small Boots. / Brave trailblazer / Bright stargazer / Cabin’s toasty. Blanket’s soft. / Snuggle deep in sleeping loft.” The animals go unnamed, leaving it to younger listeners to identify each one from the pictures…if they can do so before the verses’ murmurous tempo closes their eyes.

Sweet fare for bed- or naptimes, with a light frosting of natural history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7063-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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