Nice addition to storytimes and good bibliotherapy for anyone who’s a little chicken.

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CHICKEN LILY

Lily the chicken is chicken.

Lily the plump, yellow chick is a good colorer (always between the lines) and is patient at working puzzles. She’s a pro at hide-and-seek (she never makes a peep). However, she won’t take the training wheels off her bike or try new foods at lunch, and she never raises her hand in class, even when she knows the answer. When the teacher announces a poetry slam, all Lily’s barnyard friends are excited to read their poems on stage; Lily is terrified. She’s too scared to tell Mrs. Lop about her stage fright, so she’s on the bill, but that doesn’t help her with her writer’s block. It’s not until she considers how much worse it would be to be onstage without anything to read that Lily writes her poem. Facing her fear makes her a slightly less chicken chicken. Mortensen’s tale of timid poultry fearing poetry rises above other fear-of-the-new titles when its protagonist tackles her own anxiety instead of taking direction from an outside source. Young listeners will identify with her fears. Crittenden’s slightly anthropomorphic farm folk, rendered in watercolors, are a smiling and supportive if slightly generic group. Touches of humor, verbal and visual, make Lily’s baby step toward bravery believable and replicable.

Nice addition to storytimes and good bibliotherapy for anyone who’s a little chicken. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-120-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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