Further feathery cases for this duo would be just fine.


Who’s filching the feathered folk of the city?

Pigeon P.I. is taking it easy; his partner, Stanley, has flown the coop, and the gumshoe has closed the detective agency. Around town, brightly colored birds are vanishing, but the sea gull police force is far more interested in a downed box of doughnuts. Vee, a plucky canary whose birdie buddies have gone missing, wants Pigeon P.I.’s help, but he’s reluctant. She’s determined—very determined—and he takes the case. There are no leads until Vee joins the disappeared. A clue points to the Red Herring Bar and Grill, where P.I. finds the whole flock and frees them. But who’s behind the nefarious birdnapping? Pigeon P.I. hears a familiar voice and makes a startling discovery. With the thief exposed and caged, Pigeon P.I. decides he’s found a new partner; and he and Vee found the Bird’s Eye View Detective Agency. Scottish author McLaren’s picture-book tale is just the ticket for budding detectives. They can follow the feathers along with Pigeon P.I. through the digitally created panels and full-bleed illustrations, both dotted with speech bubbles. The watercolor-appearing pictures, full of expressive fowl of various species, are charming and replete with visual gags and additional jokes for the observant or more experienced readers.

Further feathery cases for this duo would be just fine. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-328-71561-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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