This gentle read-aloud looks forward to the time when the child will have a young one of her own.



The third of three owl chicks hesitates to fly, requiring much encouragement from its parents.

As they did in Don’t Let Go! (2003), veteran collaborators Willis and Ross here allude to both the terrors and rewards of a child’s first steps toward independence. The repetitive, alliterative poem and realistic pictures work together to tell the story. Ross' illustrations vary in size and placement on the white pages. Done with pastels on a textured base, they show barn owls with endearing, heart-shaped faces. Father hunts and brings food; mother looks out from their woodland tree cavity. One especially sweet image has both parents looking on as lovingly as owls can look as the last chick hatches from its egg. Later, readers see the first two chicks flapping, flipping, flopping and flying. When the third chick worries she might be eaten by a crow or hit by a train, the color deepens: Against a deep red sky a looming steam engine threatens. The chick clings desperately to a tree branch; Father tries to pull her free. At last, she flies. But that’s not the end. “Snow came. Crow came. Spring came. / But what became of this last chick?”

This gentle read-aloud looks forward to the time when the child will have a young one of her own. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0314-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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