All (except Skunk) will easily see how much fun a bath can be.



Skunk may have gotten a hug…but he’s still a stinker.

Mack’s effusive, hug-loving Bear returns, following his introduction in Who Wants a Hug? (2014). This time he wants to throw wily, standoffish Skunk a surprise birthday party. Skunk smells awful, though; none of the other woodland critters want to attend. Trying to keep the party both afloat and a secret, Bear suggests Skunk take a bath because baths are fun. Skunk will have none of it. Bear adds a slide to the swimming hole to make it look more fun, but Skunk sneakily makes sure it’s Bear who gets wet. The additions of a swing and a trampoline don’t entice Skunk to bathe, and Bear always ends up soaked and sudsy or worse. In his frustration, Bear lets slip about the party. Since he’s in the swimming hole, all the critters think it’s a pool party and happily jump in. Just as Skunk protests, a slip on some soap sends him on an awesome Rube Goldberg–esque tour of slide, swing, and trampoline. Skunk’s birthday surprise is that Bear was right all along. Mack’s bright, Saturday-morning-ready cartoon spots and full bleeds extend the silly story nicely.

All (except Skunk) will easily see how much fun a bath can be. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-222028-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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