“Yip-yip-yip-yip!” indeed, for this sympathetic portrayal of a not-often-celebrated creature who shares our world.



By the light of the moon, a coyote quietly prowls through a suburban neighborhood, hunting for food for her family.

This simple, lyrical text stresses the senses: Coyote listens, she sniffs, she looks. Short sentences and long pauses, indicated by page turns, mirror the animal's stealthy progress and sudden attacks. Ibatouilline's shadowy paintings enhance the tension. Each detail of fur, feathers, and foliage is clearly delineated, yet almost all the action takes place in the near-dark. Finally, just as the sun comes up, Coyote successfully takes a turkey. Watched through the window by a curly-haired, light-brown–skinned child, the hunter sings, "Yeeeep-yip-yip-yoooo!" Two pages of “Coyote Facts” at the end offer further information about these wolflike predators’ ubiquity and flexibility in food habits and habitat and suggest further reading and websites. The dark illustrations and potentially upsetting subject matter make this title more suited for lap-sharing than storytime, but the author and illustrator have handled the predator-prey encounters sensitively. A striking double-page spread shows the coyote leaping on a mouse—“POUNCE!”—but the mouse escapes. The turkey’s feathers obscure his final moments in the coyote’s mouth. Even collections that include Cheryl Blackford and Laurie Caple’s Hungry Coyote (2015) will want these incredible illustrations.

“Yip-yip-yip-yip!” indeed, for this sympathetic portrayal of a not-often-celebrated creature who shares our world. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-041-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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