TRUDY

At the country auction, Esme and Grandfather find just the right animal for them: “Not too big, not too small. Not too stinky, and no feathers!” Indeed, Trudy turns out to be closer to perfect than they could have imagined, and Esme quickly forms a strong bond with the little goat. But one worrisome day Trudy goes into her barn and refuses to come out. A pattern quickly emerges—when snow flies, Trudy stays inside. Word of her reliability as a weather forecaster spreads, but she loses her fans’ trust when she goes into her barn and it fails to snow. Could something be wrong with the little goat, or is something even more amazing in store? From the start, Cole infuses both his gentle tale and his detailed acrylic illustrations with the routines and responsibilities of taking care of an animal and the deepening care and concern that Esme shows for Trudy. The deceptively simple story gently nudges children to look at and appreciate animals as more than just barnyard fixtures. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-06-154267-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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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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JOHNNY APPLESEED

Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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