An enjoyable crafty excursion.


Colorful mittens require 18 steps of preparation, but they are a toasty warm reward.

A redheaded, pale-skinned, freckled kid and an older, bearded figure with the same coloring are at an apple stand when the kid spots a sheep—and home they all go in their pickup truck. The sheep spends the winter in a cozy red barn with a pig and a hen, playing games and snuggling under a blanket. Spring brings a shearing, followed by cleaning, carding, and spinning. By now the process for crafting a pair of mittens is up to step No. 8, which is selecting a color to dye the yarn. This requires planting and tending marigolds, the chosen color source. And this requires a long wait. Dyeing the wool, knitting the mittens, and enjoying the winter are the very enjoyable results. The sprightly, colorful illustrations portray a smiley kid and equally happy animal friends who sip drinks, jump rope, and go downhill skiing and sledding. (There is a disclaimer on the copyright page concerning any injuries that might occur should readers try this with their own sheep.) The notably helpful sheep at the end sports its own matching hat, complete with pompom. While the actual knitting is confined to a couple sentences, the author does show that the sheep-to-mittens hands-on process involves many steps. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An enjoyable crafty excursion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62979-564-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Chilling in the best ways.


From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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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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