A sweet bedtime book about fathers and how their “love is everywhere.” (Picture book. 3-7)

A FATHER'S LOVE

Various animal dads show how they care for their young in this gently rhyming book ideal for bedtime.

Spreads familiarize readers with nine species of animals found in different regions of the world and in different habitats (a concluding world map shows their locations), providing color recognition practice and introducing similes and metaphors along the way. “Across a field of HAZY YELLOW, / this lion stalks a lazy fellow. / He charges Dad with baby claws. / This father’s love has velvet paws.” Backmatter gives a bit more information about each of the nine species, which helps readers parse the midwife toad that sits with eggs around his backside in one spot illustration and with tadpoles swimming about him in another. A penguin dad keeps his chick warm, a fox keeps his family safe by digging burrows (and by providing food: In the illustration, he has a gray rodent in his mouth). A marmoset dad carries his baby, a sea horse hatches his young, and falcons, wolves, and emus round out the animals. A final spread of diverse human dads and babies sharing hugs, snuggles, books, and sleep is the perfect nightcap. Most of Holt’s rhyming couplets scan well. Chan’s pen-and-pencil outlines are filled with digital color; parallel hatched lines indicate fur in the stylized illustrations, keeping the animals from appearing overly cute; none are anthropomorphized.

A sweet bedtime book about fathers and how their “love is everywhere.” (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51420-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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