This lost kitten will easily find enraptured readers, especially among cat lovers.



A girl and her mother give a kitten a forever home.

In this charming import from Japan via New Zealand, Hina and her mom discover a kitten on their doorstep. It’s been brought to them by its own mother, who seems to beg this family to take in and care for her scrawny newborn. Though Hina is initially reluctant to keep the newcomer, her mother agrees immediately and begins to demonstrate for her daughter—and readers—responsible, loving ways to care for a helpless new pet: gently washing it; promising a next-day visit to the vet; advising soft stroking; feeding it; and encouraging Hina to let the animal be while it acclimates. After such tender TLC, the kitten finds safe haven under some furniture, and girl and mom fashion some important cat necessities. By this time, the child’s changed her mind, but the plot turns when Hina suddenly realizes the kitten is missing and searches everywhere, finally locating her new pet in her closet, blissfully napping on her sweater. The simple storyline is sweetly told. The paint-and–colored-pencil illustrations stand out, with Sakai achieving a textured, scratchy, smudged look that wonderfully captures both the humans’ and the cats’ personalities; the adorable, blue-eyed kitten is marvelously realistic and winsome, its coat palpably soft. Mother and daughter have pinkish-tan skin, and Hina, especially, is most expressive.

This lost kitten will easily find enraptured readers, especially among cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77657-126-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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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