Joyous cacophony for the younger set.

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NOISY FARM

MY FIRST SOUND BOOK

This noisy barnyard junket should evoke squeals of delight.

Board books that moo, bark, or squawk are not new, but talking-book technology is improving, and this book is, perhaps, state-of-the-art. There are no flaps to flip nor lumps in the pages to press. Each two-page spread asks readers about the sound the featured animal makes, and each animal has a flat, metallic button on its body that little fingers can easily activate, producing real recordings of the appropriate baas, grunts, or whinnies. Six animals and the sounds they make appear in the first 12 pages; the final page is a recap with pictures of all six animals and an invitation to young readers to voice their best impressions of each. The illustrations, while not high art, are easily recognizable representations of the animals in question and contain sufficient agrarian imagery to prompt discussion and suggest additional vocabulary for older toddlers. The design of the book is ingenious. Embedded in the last, extra-thick page is the power supply that keeps things noisy. Perhaps the best feature of all is an “on/off” switch, discreetly tucked under a flap on the face of the power-supply housing. Above the switch is a plate that can be easily removed with a small, precision screwdriver in order to replace the batteries. The sounds are clear regardless of how the book is held.

Joyous cacophony for the younger set. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-13220-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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