Dumont’s lesson can run shallow or deep, but it is a winner either way.


When the sheep go on strike, this French farmyard finds a national tradition has crossed species.

“Why are we always the ones who get sheared?” demands Ernest, the Trotsky of the assembled sheep. Why not cat-hair sweaters or donkey-hair britches? Well, readers will think of plenty of reasons, but that won’t stop Ernest. Who freezes come October? Who then must get shots for their colds? On strike! Shut the shearers down! Agog, Dumont’s other finely etched, autumnal-colored farmyard creatures see Ernest’s point. Ralph, the sheepdog, tries a sheepdog’s time-honored trick—he nips a sheep—but they rally and stampede him, “hollering about police brutality.” Sides are taken; the sheep decide to march for their demands. Around one corner, they meet a phalanx of dogs. The protestors engage, then retreat and rethink their tactics. The idea of sharing gets batted about—an equitable distribution of labor, if not in so many words: “We give our eggs every morning,” says one hen. “Not all of them, luckily, not all of them!” counters a fortunate chick. An idea is born: It’s never too early to introduce “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” (as long as they are not piggy-wiggies).

Dumont’s lesson can run shallow or deep, but it is a winner either way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5470-4

Page Count: 33

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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


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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Hee haw.

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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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