A sweet tale of expectations upended.

READ REVIEW

BEAR AND CHICKEN

When Bear says he’s having chicken for lunch, what exactly does he mean?

One very cold day, as Bear is taking his morning walk, he sees a chicken frozen in the snow. As he carries the chicken to the warmth of his home, he wonders about the best way to defrost a chicken, then “burrito-wraps” it in a blanket in front of the roaring fire. This works, though Chicken, whose first sight upon awaking is sharp teeth, is immediately alarmed. But Bear is as friendly as can be. “Hello there,” he says. “You’re just in time.” Chicken wonders, “In time for what?” Bear brings out a big pot, fills it with water, and sets it on the stove to boil. Bear is going to make Chicken into lunch! Chicken makes a clumsy run for it, out into the snow and zigzagging through the trees. Bear pursues, carrying Chicken’s bindle and expressing his concern that Chicken is leaving without lunch—which is vegetable soup. Ho’s simple, humorous story provides a gentle lesson on prejudice and friendship; her illustrations are bright and basic, and Bear’s teeth are visible only in Chicken’s imagination. Readers in vegetarian households or those unfamiliar with the cooking terminology used in the text may be several steps behind Chicken, but they will still probably find the tale a funny one. There’s also a recipe for Bear’s vegetable soup and an informational note about “mostly vegetarian” black bears.

A sweet tale of expectations upended. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6266-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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