A new classic for new big brothers and sisters.

ROLY POLY

A young polar bear learns to accept his role of big brother to a new arrival in his family.

Roly Poly is happy being the only child, cherished by his loving parents. He enjoys skating, fishing, and snuggling up in his own cozy bed. On the nightstand next to Roly Poly’s bed is a tiny copy of Time for Bed, the beloved 1993 classic by Fox and Dyer, reunited again as a creative team with this heartwarming story. Roly Poly’s world is shaken when a little brother named Monty shows up unexpectedly one morning, sleeping right next to Roly Poly. The older brother is annoyed by Monty’s attempts to play and is horrified when Monty grabs a freshly caught fish and steals Roly Poly’s special walrus tooth. But when Monty’s life is in danger as he floats away on an ice floe, Roly Poly realizes he does care for his brother, and he dives into the icy water to save Monty. The dramatic rescue isn’t shown in the illustrations, so readers must imagine the specifics of saving Monty for themselves. In a departure from her signature watercolors, Dyer has created charming, needle-felted polar bears as the characters, photographed with tiny accessories in miniature rooms or snowy, outdoor settings. Fox’s spare text demonstrates her deep understanding of a youngster’s intense emotions, subtly showing Roly Poly’s growth from a self-centered toddler to a big brother who can take responsibility for a younger brother he has grown to love.

A new classic for new big brothers and sisters. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4556-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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