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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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