Certain partners to Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s Duck, these hogs (and their mud-loving message) are sure to delight.


Farmer takes spring cleaning to the extreme in this barnyard romp.

In rollicking rhyming verse, Wilson describes how Farmer washes each horse, duck, cow, goat, cat and dog. All goes well. And then it is the hogs’ turn. Those sassy porkers board up their pen and write rude messages expressing their displeasure with having to get clean: “No hogwash / for us today. / Pigs love dirt— / so go away!” The clever farmer tries to trick those pigs, but to no avail—a shower by hose instead of a bath just makes more mud for them to wallow in. Bribing them with food fails. His last attempt involves his crop duster and some shampoo, but unfortunately, he forgets the gas. When he crashes into the muddy pigsty, readers may think he’ll explode with anger, but they are in for a surprise. With their soft lines and muted colors, McMullan’s watercolors lend the book an old-fashioned feel that is echoed in the rather elongated faces of the horses and the overall-clad, fresh-faced farmer. The characters’ comical expressions and the pigs’ feisty messages to the farmer will leave readers in stitches.

Certain partners to Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin’s Duck, these hogs (and their mud-loving message) are sure to delight. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-98840-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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