Combine this with a nonfiction look at hibernation to round out a winter storytime.


The forest creatures from Too Many Carrots (2016) who were so put out by Rabbit’s foodstuff this time are vexing to Tortoise, who is trying to hibernate.

The opening spread is somnolent and peaceful, picturing Tortoise bedded down on a platform in a tree under a tentlike piece of fabric. A sign reads “DO NOT DISTURB (until Spring).” But close observers will see another sign on the tree and a robin winging toward it. A change in perspective reveals Robin’s plan for a Christmas singing class. Grumpy Tortoise refuses Robin’s offer to join, stating “Tortoises don’t like winter” in what will become a repeated refrain. Packing up, he moves on, but his slumber is interrupted by Rabbit’s carving ice sculptures, and then by Squirrel and Rabbit’s snowball fight, and finally by Beaver’s tree-felling. By this time readers will be ready for the punch line, and Hudson delivers it in spades: Tortoise’s final resting spot is a flat piece of wood at the top of a hill: a sled! And even a winter-hating hibernator cannot help but delight in the downhill ride, which is followed by some sliding on the icy pond with friends. The ending finds all but Tortoise asleep together indoors. Hudson’s detailed and colorful artwork is sure to attract attention, and the animals are cuddly cute with expressive faces, especially Tortoise’s.

Combine this with a nonfiction look at hibernation to round out a winter storytime. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62370-869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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 terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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