Another Brett winner to add to the shelf.

READ REVIEW

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 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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