The twist at the end is both humorous and instructional; adults will hope children see and heed its message.

READ REVIEW

MANNERS ARE NOT FOR MONKEYS

The monkey cage’s change of venue—to a spot near the picnic area—causes its inhabitants to learn human manners, but some just can’t stand for that.

The young monkeys are fascinated by the children outside their cage. And they quickly pick up on the ways the kids and parents interact. It’s not long before the monkeys are chewing with their mouths closed, taking turns, playing quietly, and tidying up. This drives their exasperated mother bananas: “TRY TO BEHAVE LIKE MONKEYS!” But each time they try to make her happy, they are deprived of watching the children’s antics; the fascinated kids either stop to watch the monkeys or the monkeys lose their concentration. But one day, a wild group of children visits the zoo. They are mystified by the unmonkeylike behavior of the monkeys and set out to show them what to do. When the zookeeper sees this, she understands she’s made a terrible mistake. Readers will expect her to move the monkey cage back to its original location, but her solution will have parents nodding in understanding and spark children’s laughter. Huyck’s digitally colored pencil illustrations play up the humor of the monkeys’ well-mannered behavior, and small details add to the fun—look for the monkey with a banana-peel tie and an age-old joke. The families are nicely diverse, and the zookeeper is a middle-aged white woman with a gray ponytail.

The twist at the end is both humorous and instructional; adults will hope children see and heed its message. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77138-051-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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