Children just graduating from nursery rhymes will find this a hoot.

READ REVIEW

THE COW TRIPPED OVER THE MOON

A NURSERY RHYME EMERGENCY

Hey-diddle-diddle! Nursery-rhyme EMTs rescue stranded characters from “Mother Goose.” In verse!

All the animals stop to watch the ambulance zoom by. "Who's had an accident in Storyland today?" they wonder. Turns out it's the farmer's cow, who fell from a great height. A trio of paramedics patches her up, and she responds with a hearty "Moo!" The next day is even busier. They rescue Rock-a-Bye Baby, who fell from a bough. They bandage the nose of a poor washer maid who was bitten by a blackbird, a brother of the four and 20 that were baked into that pie. They race to the notorious wall to tend to the big egg Humpty Dumpty after his fall. The King's Horses and Men arrive while the ambulance crew is using jam and bread to cover Humpty's wounds. Next up is Little Boy Blue, whom they find beneath a haystack. He's none the worse for wear, but his mangled horn needs emergency repair, with hammers and “trumpet tape.” Willis' verse is bouncy without being overworked, and she puns with the best of them. Stewart's illustrations are appropriately bright and busy, offering plenty of side business for cognoscenti. The EMTs are human, two Caucasian and one black, and two of them are comfortably well-padded.

Children just graduating from nursery rhymes will find this a hoot. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7402-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it...

FEAR THE BUNNY

A tiger can’t believe it’s being upstaged in this picture-book riff on William Blake’s famous poem.

A group of zoologically diverse animals huddle around a fire, listening to a porcupine read from a chilling poem: “Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, / in the forests of the night—.” An incredulous tiger interrupts, saying that the poem is actually about it. But a squirrel matter-of-factly states that “Here, it’s ‘bunnies, bunnies.’ ” The tiger still doesn’t understand why the animals would be so afraid of bunnies but not afraid of tigers and tries to explain why it, an apex predator, is far more threatening. The smaller animals remain unimpressed, calmly telling the tiger that “In this forest, we fear the bunny” and that it should “Hide now, before it’s too late.” An amusing and well-done premise slightly disappoints at the climax, with the tiger streaking away in terror before a horde of headlamp-wearing bunnies, but eager readers never learn what, exactly, the bunnies would do if they caught up. But at the end, a group of tigers joins the other animals in their awestruck reading of the adapted Blake poem, included in full at the end. Cute, fuzzy illustrations contrast nicely with the dark tone and forest background.

A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it overcomes a weak conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7800-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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