This odd Duck and grouchy Bear make an excellent pair.

READ REVIEW

COME HOME ALREADY!

From the Goodnight Already! series

Will Bear get a vacation from Duck? Will Duck survive Bear’s absence?

When Duck goes for his daily visit to his neighbor Bear’s house, he finds a sign on the door that says “Gone fishin’ / Back next week.” Duck can’t believe his friend left him behind. Trekking through the woods, Bear’s happy to be away from his intrusive neighbor. Duck’s not—he can’t find anything to do with himself (and he tries a lot of diversions). But Bear does not find camping as easy as he thought; he’s not successful at fishing…and the woods can be scary at night. Something spooky comes out of the woods—much screaming ensues—but it’s only Duck, come to check on Bear and bringing his camping skills (and snacks). Bear’s actually glad to see his neighbor; camping’s more fun when not alone…but solitary Bear isn’t so sure how he feels when, once home, Duck says, “I’ll always be by your side, Bear. Always and forever.” John and Davies team up for a third (and possibly the best) tale of reluctant, one-sided friendship. The story, told entirely in the characters’ monologues (with a bit of dialogue toward the end), is dynamic and begs to be hammed up during read-alouds. Davies’ bright and funny illustrations are equal partners in the telling of the tale and its humor—Bear’s expressions say it all.

This odd Duck and grouchy Bear make an excellent pair. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-237097-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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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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