A light, gentle chapter book about helping others.



From the Fairy Animals series , Vol. 1

In a magical land populated by fairy animals, a kitten helps a lost baby mouse.

Chloe is one of the Cobweb Kittens, fairy cats in charge of collecting dewdrops from a magical spring during the sunrise and using them to decorate cobwebs and make Misty Wood beautiful. When Chloe oversleeps, she misses her breakfast. On her way to the spring, she stops for a drink at Moonshine Pond (presumably nothing stronger than water) and accidentally leaves her dewdrop basket behind. Luckily, a helpful Stardust Squirrel at the spring fashions a new basket, just in time for dewdrop collection. But while Chloe decorates her webs, the dewdrops vanish behind her. She discovers a thirsty baby Moss Mouse, separated from his parents and lapping up her dewdrops. Remembering the helpful squirrel, Chloe sets her work aside to find the mouse’s family. A verbal misunderstanding (the mouse says he lives next to lions, when actually he means dandelions) leads the duo from helpful animal to helpful animal on their search for the mouse’s home. After the successful completion of her quest, Chloe returns to cobweb-decorating with the help of the grateful mice. The saccharine-sweet illustrations occasionally have odd proportions, but the sparkles, rainbows and abundant fairy wings on cuddly animals will enchant animal-loving girly-girls. Previously published overseas, this series starter will release simultaneously with Book 2, Bella the Bunny.

A light, gentle chapter book about helping others. (activities) (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-141-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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