A fine addition to the fractured-fairy-tale shelf, though it does lack that certain something that made Eugene Trivizas’ The...



The classic fairy tale gets an update with a subtle message about healthy eating and a happy ending for a hungry wolf.

When the owner of the farm decides to sell and move to Florida, he gives his three (anthropomorphized) pigs their pay and sends them on their way. The junk-food–loving brothers listen to their sister and reluctantly agree to buy building materials with their money…but straw and sticks are so cheap they have enough left for potato chips and “sody-pop.” Meanwhile, the sister works on her brick house and healthy garden. When a hungry wolf comes to town and is rebuffed at all its eating establishments, he takes his anger out on the brothers, who smell deliciously like pig and whose houses don’t stand a chance. But all his huffing and puffing at the sister’s house, combined with his hunger, makes him pass out. In an ending that may remind readers of Gail Carson Levine’s Betsy Who Cried Wolf, illustrated by Scott Nash (2002), the pigs revive, feed and befriend him. Teague’s oil paintings are marvelously detailed and brightly colored. His pigs are full of personality, and their human traits and accessories are sure to delight.

A fine addition to the fractured-fairy-tale shelf, though it does lack that certain something that made Eugene Trivizas’ The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (1993), such a standout. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-439-91501-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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