The topic is worthy of exploration, but the forced rhymes muddle the impact.

READ REVIEW

EPPIE THE ELEPHANT

(WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS)

A young pachyderm worries how friends will react to her peanut allergy on the first day of school.

There are plenty of things to be anxious about when school starts. Eppie the elephant is worried about them all, but mostly she is concerned that her classmates will find out that she is allergic to peanuts. Just one whiff can trigger a reaction, so she must sit in a special “ ‘Nut-Free’ zone” at lunch. None of the friends that she makes that morning can sit with her because they each have some form of nuts in their lunchboxes. Eppie’s fears come true when her friends laugh or stare at her for being different. But the next day, her friends apologize for not understanding and bring tuna for lunch instead. This effort should be lauded for exploring the emotional side of an allergy, but the clunky rhymes are at times grimace-inducing: “As Eppie stood between them, / they explained how she’d been missed. / They swore they’d make it up to her, / and why she shouldn’t resist.” Brown’s cheery anthropomorphized animals populate the spreads, with tiny visual asides (a mouse sits on a stack of books in order to reach the desk; a pig plunges its snout directly into a tray of slop for lunch) that brighten the textual missteps.

The topic is worthy of exploration, but the forced rhymes muddle the impact. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68412-377-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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