A clever take on the golden rule that will amuse children who like reading tongue twisters aloud.



A troupe of troublesome turkeys is transformed by two tenacious trainers in this alliterative debut for early readers.

Every year, the king of Yummy-Yummy Land looks forward to choosing the tenderest turkey at his turkey ranch for the annual Royal Feast. But as the story opens, he discovers that the turkeys are terribly ill-mannered and unkempt to boot. On the advice of his wise owl sidekick Sir Who, he decides to hire some trainers to whip the turkeys into shape. Specifically, he selects Tillie, a tender turkey with very polite manners and a large heart, and a donkey named Pokey, whom Tillie considers “a friend who is kind and treats [her] tenderly.” (Sir Who notes, “We all become the way we are treated!”) With the help of three other turkey trainers—Timothy Tuxedo, a penguin; Tippy-Toes TuTu, a flamingo; and Tennessee Tyler, a horse—Tillie and Pokey help the turkeys understand that the key to being tender is to always look, do and be one’s very best. After successfully training them, Pokey worries that Tillie and the turkeys have been invited not to eat dinner, but to be dinner. Thankfully, after some amusing high jinks, the tale has a happy ending. The story told here originally began as an ongoing puppet show that retired teacher Walker and her co-worker used to share with their students, and it reflects its origins in its larger-than-life, silly characters and episodic narration. The real fun is not in the story, nor even in its lesson that being loved helps people become better at showing love, but in the frequent alliterative, rhyming phrases sprinkled throughout the text. Independent young readers will enjoy the twisty sentences (“Pokey and Tillie tapped their toes as they watched the turkeys twirl to the tunes”) and repeated catchphrases (“ ‘Okey dokey!’said Pokey”). The cartoonlike illustrations have plenty of child appeal, but the amount of text per page may be best suited to confident, independent readers.

A clever take on the golden rule that will amuse children who like reading tongue twisters aloud.

Pub Date: June 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490843711

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.


Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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