Fans of Beatrix Potter will love this enchanting Christmas tale.


Woodland animals out for a walk find a surprise hidden in the snow.

Three rabbits, Kip, Wally, and Agnes, and their friends Bella and Bob, twin mice with a habit of speaking together, debate whether Kip heard someone whisper that it was lost. Readers are brought right into the action with the opening words “ ‘I am not making it up,’ said Kip” in this story told completely through dialogue. The friends dig through snow to find a “freezy-frozen” teddy bear. They very sensibly take him in a wagon to the home of a real-life bear named Arthur, overcoming his grumpiness with a jar of honey. Arthur tries to help them with their “ ‘we-don’t-know-what-to-do’ question.” The wise Arthur recognizes that, sadly, “on the day before Christmas, a child is without his or her beloved bear.” They do their best to patch up the disheveled teddy bear with a button eye, a green sweater, and a red ribbon. Enlisting the help of their bird friends, they find the girl who lost her teddy. From cheery endpapers strewn with colorful berries to delicately painted woodland scenes, this book is gorgeously designed. Images of animals, trees, and homey items wind their ways in and out of insets, resembling the views framed by the window the girl (light-skinned, with straight, brown hair) looks out.

Fans of Beatrix Potter will love this enchanting Christmas tale. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-988-8341-52-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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