Another Brett winner to add to the shelf.

THE TURNIP

A classic Russian tale gets Brett’s signature artwork and a twist ending.

When Badger Girl finds a giant turnip in the vegetable patch, she immediately starts thinking of all the tasty things that could be made with a turnip that size. But she can’t pull it out, not even with the assistance of Badger Boy, Mother Badger, or Father Badger, each new character heralded in the recto vignette on the previous page. Passing friends—Hedgie, Mr. Ram, and Vanya, the horse—join in, one by one, as the snowflakes signaling winter’s arrival start to fall, but even all pulling together, they can’t manage it. A rooster who had a narrow escape from a cooking pot happens by. Meanwhile, a mother bear and two cubs, whom observant readers have been watching in the vignettes on the versos, climb into their winter den to hibernate only to find a giant turnip in their bed. Well, their pushing and Rooster’s pulling coincide to pop the turnip out, and it’s turnip pancakes for those aboveground, sleep for the bears, and an honorary home for Rooster. Brett brings the Russian countryside setting to life. Her anthropomorphized animals wear clothing in shades of blues, white, and reds, and the patterns are beautiful. The wooden fences and house are elaborately carved, and Brett’s borders are highly detailed, many times looking like carved wood.

Another Brett winner to add to the shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-3991-7070-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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