If not a big somersault, this is a playful bit of fun.

CHEERFUL CHICK

A cheerleading chick can’t rouse enthusiasm among her farmyard pals. Sis-boom-NAH!

Leaving behind 11 siblings in their shells, a newly hatched chick springs from her egg, brandishing pompoms and wearing cheerleaders’ gear—pleated skirt and sweater emblazoned with the varsity letter “C.” Not only does Chick strut fancy moves while yay-ing noisily all day, she also tries to persuade other animals to form a squad to root for the (literal) farm team. Nope. The yolk’s on them: After lapsing into a brief funk, the yellow fluffster decides who needs ’em and resolves to create a one-chick team. Guess who shows up: Unbeknownst to Chick (though sharp-eyed readers will have observed it in the artwork all along), her brothers and sisters have hatched, donned their own cheerleader uniforms (that just happened to have arrived in the mail), and have come to join her, while the erstwhile neigh (and oink, moo, and baa) sayers cheer from the sidelines. This is, fittingly, a cheery romp, narrated in bouncy verse that reads and scans well, though the underlying theme may not resonate. Why are chicks so gung-ho about cheerleading? Are many kids among the target audience even familiar with cheerleading and its conventions? The digitally rendered illustrations, mixed with paints and pencil, are lively and energetic, and animals’ faces are expressive. Cheerleading calls are incorporated into the text in display type.

If not a big somersault, this is a playful bit of fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-13418-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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