Formulaic? Perhaps, but none can argue with the educational value, nor the fun—what will she tackle next? (Informational...

READ REVIEW

OVER IN THE FOREST

COME AND TAKE A PEEK

Having already explored the ocean and jungle, planets, the Arctic and Australia, Berkes this time focuses her "Over in the Meadow"–derived lyrics on a temperate deciduous forest.

Readers are treated to a look at a forest habitat and its more familiar denizens, including beaver, turkey, woodpecker and ’possum. As in her previous titles, there is a nice balance between math and the animal information. Berkes introduces children to the names given to baby forest animals, indicating them with italics—fawns, joeys, hatchlings, poults, chicks and kits. The number is set in a different color type, while the numeral is featured prominently at the bottom of the page. Dubin gives readers several opportunities to practice, illustrating both the baby animals and their tracks, both of which can be easily identified and counted. In addition, she hides another forest dweller on each page. Her paper-collage, colored-pencil and pastel artwork is filled with gorgeous textures that echo the natural world of the forest. Berkes rounds out the text with educational backmatter: a list of the hidden animals, a section that reveals her artistic license, some forest facts, detailed paragraphs about each of the featured animals, the music and lyrics, notes from both the author and illustrator, activities to extend the book and resources for more information.

Formulaic? Perhaps, but none can argue with the educational value, nor the fun—what will she tackle next? (Informational picture book.3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58469-162-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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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 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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