Like a mailbox overstuffed with gifts, Dubuc's animal scenes are a delight and well worth the wait.

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MR. POSTMOUSE'S ROUNDS

A dedicated postal worker, who happens to be a small mouse, makes the daily deliveries in a lively dispatch from Dubuc.

Mr. Postmouse is a busy worker; he tirelessly pulls a wagon stacked high with packages for the animal residents who make up his daily route. That means climbing ladders to get to the Birds’ several homes, scaling snowy peaks for the Mountain Goats, and hoping that scary Mr. Snake isn't receiving anything today. The double-page spreads that make up each leg of the journey are rendered in sneakily detailed cross-sections of the interiors of these homes. The Rabbit family's house, with carrots planted in the roof, leads to underground rooms that feature high-stacked bunk beds and, amusingly, a toilet in use. Mr. Snake's hothouse home stretches over multiple pages, while the Ants have a predictably busy belowground infrastructure. Young readers may miss a few jokes, allusions, and background stories along the way, but it's all the more reason to revisit Mr. Postmouse's mail duties again. The scenes playing out in the various tableaux are playful but never cutesy. Mr. Postmouse's fear of Mr. Snake and the stacked sheep inside Mr. Wolf's home allude to dangers in the animal world that Mr. Postmouse seems adept at avoiding.

Like a mailbox overstuffed with gifts, Dubuc's animal scenes are a delight and well worth the wait. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-572-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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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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