A vibrant, enriching tale that kids will love.




Calder and Quiel present an engaging, educational and beautifully illustrated story about two monarch butterflies.

The story follows a little girl named Bonnie as she watches monarch butterflies—which she playfully calls airplanes—in her family’s garden. Her mother shows her a place where a butterfly has laid eggs. Bonnie watches the eggs until they hatch, then follows two caterpillars, whom she names Sergio and Stanley, as they grow and change into butterflies. The narrative elegantly teaches the process of metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Bonnie shares her childlike joy and observations with her parents, promoting curiosity and family togetherness. The pages are packed with fanciful, whimsical watercolors of butterflies, caterpillars, flowers, children and garden life. The illustrations colorfully supplement and enhance the tale, which is a fitting read-aloud for parents and children. Simple enough for a confident young reader, the book would facilitate a fun science lesson for the first- or second-grade classroom. The clear writing explains complex ideas in kid-friendly ways, and the parent-child dialogue is believable. The ideas and writing are too advanced for preschoolers, but they’ll love the pictures anyway. Calder is a horticulturist and garden designer who shares her knowledge well with young readers, who’ll enjoy Quiel’s award-winning artistic style. Backmatter includes information and maps about monarch migration, more monarch facts, web resources and directions to make your own butterfly garden. This section will help parents and teachers further engage kids in backyard nature.

A vibrant, enriching tale that kids will love.

Pub Date: May 28, 2011

ISBN: 978-0983296218

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Patio Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Lit with sweetness.


Coco, who loves her gentle friend Bear, is shocked to learn that the other forest animals do not know about his kindness.

Inspired by one of her grandmother’s favorite maxims, Coco, a girl with light brown skin and curly brown hair, works with Bear to “share some kindness [and] bring some light” to the other animals in the forest. Interpreting it literally, the two make cookies (kindness) and lanterns (light) to share with the other animals. They trek through the snow-covered forest to deliver their gifts, but no one trusts Bear enough to accept them. As night begins to fall, Bear and Coco head home with the lanterns and cookies. On the way through the quiet forest, they hear a small voice pleading for help; it’s Baby Deer, stuck in the snow. They help free him, and Bear gives the young one a ride home on his back. When the other animals see both that Baby Deer is safe and that Bear is responsible for this, they begin to recognize all the wonderful things about Bear that they had not noticed before. The episode is weak on backstory—how did Coco and Bear become friends? Why don’t the animals know Bear better by now?—but Stott’s delicately inked and colored illustrations offer beguiling views of lightly anthropomorphized woodland critters that make it easy to move past these stumbling blocks. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

Lit with sweetness. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6238-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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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