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

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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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