The artwork is spectacular, but its factual content is not so well-presented.

READ REVIEW

FEATHERS AND HAIR, WHAT ANIMALS WEAR

Sparse, rhyming text and lush collages impart elementary facts about different animals’ body coverings.

The colors, shapes, and textures of the artwork are a glorious complement to the simple, nicely scanning, just-barely-informational text. A set of speckled feathers stretching over the title pages is revealed to be the tail feathers of an awesome, pheasantlike bird spread over the next two pages. The text states, in bright, large letters against a green background, “Some animals wear feathers.” A monkey leaps across the next pages, with the bold text: “Some animals wear hair.” An aerial view of a porcupine’s quills finishes the verse with “Some animals wear prickly spines / and roam without a care.” The art invites gazing and revisiting—especially the four pages devoted to a chameleon of psychedelic coloration. The final verse and illustration of a giggling, brown-skinned child in the bathtub will delight most toddlers—who are still entranced by differences between humans and other animals—but limit the book’s appeal to older readers. The endnotes name each animal in its order of appearance and supplement the primary text with scientific facts. However, the absence of a glossary leaves it up to adult readers to define such terms as “mammal,” “reptile,” “gills,” “crustacean,” “mollusk,” and “amphibian.”

The artwork is spectacular, but its factual content is not so well-presented. (Informational picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3081-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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