A fun storytime pick that emphasizes child participation and sensory skill development.


A cow explores a farm and encounters animal friends in Perkinson and Woodall’s debut board book.

As she roams her farm, a friendly cow watches other farm animals in their natural habitats—a running colt and a horse, a “lamb jumping a fence,” “piglets playing in mud,” and ducklings swimming and splashing in a pond. The cow even watches as chicks hatch. Lastly, she comes across a farmer and his son riding a tractor. The bovine is visibly enthralled by all she sees, and upon each encounter, she says: “Wow!” Woodall’s lively, graphic illustrations are charming, featuring bold colors. Many pages include wide expanses of textured green grass juxtaposed with a blue sky. All animals depicted have similar cartoonish eyes and cheerful smiles. The pictures also include fun details, like a reoccurring airplane flying in the sky. Although barnyard scenes are commonly featured in children’s literature, the interactive elements here make the book more unique. The book includes a red sound button that emits the word “Wow” when pressed. The story ends abruptly after the cow’s encounter with the farmer and his son; it would’ve been satisfying to see the cow and her animal friends gather together at the end. Still, the sparse text using simple language and repetitive phrasing (“and the cow said…Wow!”) will appeal to very young audiences.

A fun storytime pick that emphasizes child participation and sensory skill development.

Pub Date: July 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-76227-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Wow Cow Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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