As a whole, the book ably carries readers past many flying friends and lands with ease in a safe nest.

YOU NEST HERE WITH ME

Nestling her young child in for the night, a mother shares in rhyme the many ways birds bed down to sleep.

“Swallows nest above barn doors, / Plovers nest on sandy shores, // Eagles nest upon high tors, / But you nest here with me.” With an easy cadence and a comforting anchor, Yolen and Stemple drift from cowbird to killdeer, bedding down winged creatures while always returning to the safety of mom and home. Sweet’s illustrations, done in watercolor, gouache and mixed media, use a soft palette of blues and greens in double-page spreads that capture the essence of each bird. The text and the images work well together, balancing the mood of quiet comfort with avian description. With a variety of nest types, the birds show that “home” can be wherever your loved one is close by. Although it has clear application as a bedtime book, there is also a nature book hovering in the wings. The authors’ note provides information such as diet, markings and locations on 14 different birds. The images of each bird’s egg and feather along with its silhouette will surely captivate budding ornithologists.

As a whole, the book ably carries readers past many flying friends and lands with ease in a safe nest. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59078-923-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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