Bedtime desires are gently portrayed and gathered up until it is indeed sleepy-time in this cuddlesome import. (Picture...

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NIGHT SOUNDS

The animals of the rain forest settle down for sleep, but they are disturbed by the sounds of the night in this cumulative story.

Orangutan responds first to the “WUAAaah WUAAaah WUAAaah.” “Why are you crying, little one?” he asks of the young creature lying in an old box. It snuffles and says, “Because…hic…hic, because I’m cold.” Orangutan brings a blanket and the hope that warmth will bring peace and quiet. But 10 minutes later, there’s crying again. Tapir brings a bowl of fresh water to the thirsty little one. And so it goes on, as the awakened animals become increasingly cranky. Finally, not comforted by what the animals have brought, the little one admits he wants his mummy. Tiger comes back riding on the mother elephant, and the now-revealed, very large baby gets a kiss “that can be heard all over the forest.” Everyone settles down, but then: “WUU WUU WUUUuu.” The animals are really upset this time, but the little elephant knows it is a child crying in the village and shouts, “THAT CHILD MUST HAVE A KISS!” Watercolor, ink and crayon pictures are bright and textured, and despite their interrupted sleep, all the animals are smiling. The bear balancing the tray of honey sweets and mango on its back is particularly fetching.

Bedtime desires are gently portrayed and gathered up until it is indeed sleepy-time in this cuddlesome import. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-332-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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