Fans will be in sheep-y stitches.

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THE FLOCK FACTOR

From the Shaun the Sheep—Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm series , Vol. 1

It’s sheep vs. chicken in a farmyard talent showdown!

Film studio Aardman’s Shaun the sheep and the other denizens of the barnyard at Mossy Bottom Farm are having a normal day…well a normal-for-them day: Bitzer the sheepdog is listening to his headphones, and Timmy the lamb is flying a kite made of underwear (with disastrous results). The Farmer suddenly gets excited about something he’s read in the newspaper, a Mossy Bottom’s Got Talent competition. He straight away starts practicing his balloon animals; unfortunately, they all look deformed. Shaun and company decide to have their own talent show, which becomes a sheep-vs.-chicken throwdown when the chickens laugh quite cruelly at Shirley the sheep’s dance-act practice. Things look dismal for the sheep in the competition until Shaun hears Shirley singing…but after her embarrassment in front of the chickens, can he convince her to sing in front of the whole farm? The characters from the television show (and upcoming movie) Shaun the Sheep induce smiles in this first in a tie-in series. Much like the stop-motion shows, there is no dialogue to speak of; all is narration and description. The sight gags Aardman projects are famous for work surprisingly well in this mostly text/comics hybrid tale.

Fans will be in sheep-y stitches. (final art and activities not seen) (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7535-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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