Fans of Otis will not be disappointed with the satisfying ending that results in a creative solution and a most happy...

OTIS AND THE PUPPY

From the Otis series

Lovable Otis the tractor is back for a third adventure, in which he overcomes his fear to help out a new canine friend.

Otis and his animal buddies, including the calf and bull from previous titles, play hide-and-seek after working on the farm. With a “one-putt, two-puff, three-puttedy four-chuff,” Otis begins his turn as “it,” which he especially likes. One day, the farmer brings an adorable young pup to the farm, and he immediately wins the hearts of all with his wriggling and wagging and an abundance of wet kisses. But after night falls, the puppy whimpers when he is left alone in his very dark doghouse outside the barn. Otis invites him inside to sleep next to him, and a special friendship forms. The story takes a turn when the puppy, instead of hiding as he is supposed to, gets distracted. In this spread, Long separates the text from what he depicts in the classic-feeling illustrations in gouache and pencil. While the language describes Otis discovering his friends in their silly hiding places—bull is “behind a lone dandelion”—a series of spot images shows the pup following a butterfly until he becomes hopelessly lost in the dark forest. Long contrasts the bright daytime farm scenes with the deepest darks of night to heighten the drama, for Otis must first cope with his own fear of the dark before rescuing his friend.

Fans of Otis will not be disappointed with the satisfying ending that results in a creative solution and a most happy reunion. Seek this out—“game on!” (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25469-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Hee haw.

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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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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