This one’s playfulness invites repeat readings, and like Mr. Postmouse, it delivers consistently.



The dedicated postal worker who first appeared in Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds (2015) returns with his entire family for a much bigger adventure.

It’s time for the family to go on vacation, but if Mr. Postmouse’s local deliveries are any indication, it won’t be a lazy day at the beach. In fact, Mr. Postmouse, Mrs. Postmouse, and their three little mice travel the world, going from campsite to ocean cruise to desert oasis to city. In each location, Dubuc’s double-page spreads show cross sections of animals’ house interiors: there is a sloth’s treetop dwelling, a dragon’s volcano lair, and even a lizard’s cozy home inside a cactus. They’re rendered in careful, cute detail. It feels like a busy critter cast of thousands, making every page one to be examined for minutes at a time. A lot of the text, which serves mostly to explain each setting and move the family along, is perfunctory (“And then it’s a quick city stop!”). It’s the playful, witty worldbuilding drawings that do the heavy lifting and tell dozens of individual stories. By the time the Postmouses take to the skies in a hot air balloon, readers could be forgiven for being as exhausted as the family of mice, ready to return home. And that they do, having apparently brought home a penguin in a suitcase and lots of memories from around the world.

This one’s playfulness invites repeat readings, and like Mr. Postmouse, it delivers consistently. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-354-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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