Back at the right pit, the snake twists into a treble clef—a charming endnote.

READ REVIEW

THE ORCHESTRA PIT

A snake meandering into “the wrong pit” leads readers through this appealing introduction to an orchestra and its instruments—brass, wind instruments, strings and percussion.

Children in simple uniforms perform in a sunken outdoor amphitheater framed by trees. The snake’s narration channels a child’s guilelessness, but there are sly bits, too. Coiling attentively before a cross-legged musician on a round rug, the snake quips, “That oboe is rather charming.” After presenting the violin, viola and cello in their respectively graduating sizes, the snake confesses, “I’m quite attached to the bass.” A page turn reveals a dramatic central spread: The sheepish narrator has swallowed the bass fiddle whole! Some performers quail at the snake’s presence, of course; a benign animal-control guy conducts a brief, fruitless search. Visual and textual clues reveal the adjacent setting (a zoo) by likening the music to animal sounds: As the brass section plays, the snake asks, “Is that an elephant I hear?” Wright simply depicts the adult conductor’s instructive movements: arms drawn in close for “Quiet…” and outstretched for “Loud!” Thinly applied acrylic paint in green, purple and brown reveals the canvas’ weave, while black ink contours and delineates instruments, kids and animals. Dots and dashes depict facial features, but varying skin colors and hair textures suggest a diverse, engaged community.

Back at the right pit, the snake twists into a treble clef—a charming endnote. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-769-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more