Nevertheless, good fun to share in a lap or with a group.

READ REVIEW

PRAIRIE CHICKEN LITTLE

Mary McBlicken is one panicky prairie chicken.

While out on the grasslands one day, Mary the prairie chicken hears a terrible rumbling and grumbling. Sure it’s a stampede, she runs away lickety-split to warn Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan; they’ll know what to do. Along her pell-mell flight, she meets in turn Jeffrey Snog the prairie dog, Beau Grabbit the jackrabbit and June Spark the meadowlark, and Mary succeeds in freaking them all out. Everyone runs until they meet Slim Brody the coyote. He says he knows a shortcut to the ranch. A few quick turns lead to a suspicious-looking tunnel. The friends know something’s up, and their squawking attack brings Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan running. The two (horse and Chihuahua) chase away that nasty coyote …and the whole crew discover what the rumbling and grumbling really was: Mary’s stomach! It’s supper time. Hopkins’ prairie take on “Chicken Little” is made storytime perfect by Cole’s characteristically hysterical, watercolor-and–colored-pencil cartoons of goggle-eyed critters. It’s also a nice twist that Mary and her friends save themselves from the coyote rather than ending up as lunch or requiring outside assistance. The prairie animals (some not mentioned in the text) make this a nice addition to cross-curricular libraries, though it’s too bad there is no additional information as a backmatter bonus.

Nevertheless, good fun to share in a lap or with a group. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-694-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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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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