Skillfully told and satisfying, this is sure to delight young listeners in on the joke.

READ REVIEW

FIND A COW NOW!

When Bird sends restless Dog to the country to find a cow to herd, the result is a comical series of misidentifications and an exhausting trip.

The Stevens sisters (Help Me, Mr. Mutt, 2008, etc.) return with another appealing animal adventure. After Dog mistakenly tries to herd a chicken, a pig and an ill-tempered donkey, he’s rescued by a large brown-and-white animal who takes him back to the city. Only after surprised city dwellers send them back out to the country does Dog discover that the helpful creature is called Cow. The enthusiastic but slightly dim-witted Australian cattle dog and exasperated budgie are generically named but realistically depicted in Stevens’ illustrations, rendered in soft acrylic washes over pencil combined with collage. From vignettes to double-page spreads, they tell the story as unmistakably as the simple text. The animals’ postures express their emotions, while sounds—from “Cluck cluck! Peck peck!” to “Yip! Yip! Yee-haw!” and “Eee-eee-kkk!!”—add read-aloud interest to the pictures. Even the direction of Dog’s travel is clear: from left to right as he goes from city to country, and right to left returning. The circular narrative, which opens with Dog napping, ends with the dog-tired traveler asleep again.

Skillfully told and satisfying, this is sure to delight young listeners in on the joke. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2218-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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