Being an older sibling has never been this harrowing—and hilarious.



Taking care of a younger sibling is a challenge for Chick, especially when the sibling is still in his egg.

Watching his unhatched baby brother is so boring that Chick falls fast asleep just as things are about to get interesting. A “CRACK” is the first sign that baby brother is about to be born; two orange legs poking out the bottom of the egg are the second and third. Once baby brother has legs, he is off like a shot. Chick chases his charge through the farmyard, through the pigsty, and on to the shearing barn (where a close encounter with scissors is nearly the end of this babysitter!). Just when things could not get any more treacherous, the legs and egg run right into a sleeping bull. Droll watercolor-and-ink illustrations bring Chick to life for young listeners, who will quickly identify with both chicks, depending on birth order. Deft and subtle brush strokes show Chick’s emotional state as he cycles from boredom and frustration to worry and terror to, finally, blessed relief. Children will grimace along with the little chick stuck in the pig’s muck and chuckle when a carefully placed speech bubble screams “Hey! That’s my bottom!” when Chick nearly gets snipped in the shearing barn. Finally, everyone can take a deep breath when Chick and his nearly hatched brother make it back to the coop just in the nick of time.

Being an older sibling has never been this harrowing—and hilarious. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-52319-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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