Stunning as ever: another irresistible imperative from Frost and Lieder to get up and out into nature.

READ REVIEW

WAKE UP!

Nature’s littlest creatures figure large in this poetic portrait of their early movements.

In Frost and Lieder’s first three collaborations, the award-winning poet/photographer duo transfixed pre-readers with spare verse and uncanny photos focused on insects, birds in flight, and the hidden lives of fireflies. Here, the pair looks to a variety of tiny and youthful creatures to deliver a message similar to Step Gently Out’s (2012) invitation to explore the natural world: “So many new creatures / with so much to do — // the world is / wide awake. / Are you?” Frost’s motivational picture-book poem asks children to inspect Lieder’s photos of familiar infant animals like cygnets, a fawn, tadpole, and lambs alongside rarely seen baby woodchucks, a sawfly larva—even translucent slug eggs—and consider their potential. Lieder again demonstrates that he is not only a master of catching light where it falls, but capturing intimate moments only the most patient of observers would notice. His latest jaw-dropping images reveal with preternatural acumen details as subtle as the shadow of a praying mantis on a peony petal, feathers lining a tree swallow’s nest, and the tiniest of “newly hatched” cellar spiders dancing on a blade of grass, as Frost notes “New life is everywhere — / open your eyes.” Descriptive endnotes lend additional context to the species on display.

Stunning as ever: another irresistible imperative from Frost and Lieder to get up and out into nature. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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