A whimsical sequel.

READ REVIEW

WHAT THE LADYBUG HEARD NEXT

The ladybug returns to foil another barnyard theft (What the Ladybug Heard, 2010).

Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len (white and brown-skinned respectively, with names that indicate body type) are fresh out of jail and up to their old tricks. Not content simply to steal delicious speckled eggs, the thieves scheme to steal the farm’s fat red hen. Luckily, Donaldson’s ladybug is on the case, and so are the farm’s cow, hog, cat, duck, and other residents. The author employs rhyming couplets to weave her cat-and-mouse, or shall we say thief-and-ladybug, game. Monk returns to illustrate the barnyard, employing googly eyes, bright colors, and crisp compositions. Incorporated elements of photo collage (the hoods’ knitwear, the sheep’s fleece, and selective other fabric highlights) add visual interest to the bright, matte paintings. The silly scheming tone will have little readers giggling with glee. While the book contains larcenous villains, the tale is light and fluffy, flitting here and there and making Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len as threatening as jelly doughnuts. Nevertheless, the choice to cast a fat person and a brown-skinned person as the villains while the kindly farmer is a thin, white man sours the taste somewhat.

A whimsical sequel. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-15652-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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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

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