There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion.



Unfolding in short, bouncy rhymes, this atypical counting book fills its pages with a flock of chickens enjoying a day at the county fair.

What distinguishes this counting book is that the number of chickens to count on each double-page spread is neither simple nor sequential. There are chickens everywhere, reminiscent of Richard Scarry, with as many as 35 or more chicks, hens, and roosters on the pages. They ride the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, toss balls at the dunk tank and teddy bear booth, and cheer at the grasshopper-tart contest. The rhymes go down easy: “Chickens on the Ferris wheel / shriek with laughter, scream and squeal. / Chicken sister cannot speak— / cotton candy in her beak!” While the short rhymes relate the action, the boisterous chickens take center stage. Digitally colored pencil illustrations use small, simple shapes to describe the chickens, but they are individually dressed in a broad range of fair attire: plaid shirts, jeans, vests, frilly dresses. The chickens are depicted in a wide range of plumage colors, and details in the clothing make it possible to follow some chicks across pages. Visual puns will make adults giggle: the Dixie Chickens perform onstage, as do the Blues Brothers. Backmatter has a simple quiz with answers, but there is no key listing the actual count of chickens per spread.

There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017


Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.


From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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