A cute escapade for the silliest readers.

READ REVIEW

POE WON'T GO

A pink elephant named Poe sits in the middle of a town’s only road and won’t budge—until someone bothers to find out why he’s there.

The people of Prickly Valley aren’t happy that Poe is blocking their road. A traffic jam forms. People honk and yell at Poe. A traffic cop writes him a ticket. When that doesn’t work, they try making all sorts of noises to shoo him away, from trombones to tap dancing, then turn to begging and bribing. They bring mice, cranes, and magicians. The mayor forms committees. Balloons, fire hoses, and the force of all the people in town can’t get Poe to go. Finally, a brown-skinned girl named Marigold, who’s wearing a hijab that reflects her name, asks the mayor (a pink-skinned woman with white hair and pearls) if anyone has thought to ask Poe why he won’t go. Marigold, who is “fluent in both kitten and hedgehog,” says that “anyone can speak elephant if they just listen hard enough.” She climbs up and listens closely to Poe, who smiles for the first time, then she tells the crowd Poe is waiting for a friend. The mayor doesn’t believe her, but a news reporter thinks he may have seen Poe’s friend. OHora’s matte-finish acrylic-and-pencil illustrations are reminiscent of Madeline’s but with a pink and gold palette; Marigold is an endearing heroine. After the buildup and anticipation though, the story’s conclusion (Poe was sitting on his friend, a monkey named Moe) is more puzzling than satisfying.

A cute escapade for the silliest readers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-9059-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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.

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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