CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY

Two charming country mice reprise the Nativity story with a New York City setting. In her well-written story, Krupinski (My World of Color, p. 487, etc.) introduces Mr. and Mrs. Mouse, who live in a hole in a gigantic Christmas tree that becomes the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. Mrs. Mouse is expecting babies any time, but she and Mr. Mouse set out each night from their cozily decorated home to explore the city. They view the holiday store windows, skate at Rockefeller Center, and take a carriage ride through the snow in Central Park. On that snowy night, they take shelter in a Nativity scene outside a church, and their three babies are born in the manger under the light of a particularly bright star. The mouse family returns with their tree to the country, where they find a new home in a dollhouse. Krupinski surrounds her holiday city scenes with cheery decorated borders, many inspired by quilt patterns for a country-flavored contrast. Children in the New York area are a natural audience for this merry mouse tale, but the appealing illustrations and country mouse-city mouse connection make will help this story travel to cozy story times in any location. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7868-0834-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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