A visually attractive rendition with an intensifying, onomatopoeic text that repays the practice it requires for reading...

IN THE QUIET, NOISY WOODS

Sibling wolf pups leave their pack to explore the forest amid the raucous sounds of its various creatures.

The quiet woods can be a noisy place if you stop to listen to the myriad voices calling out. The constant “chorus of chirps and clicks and chits that peep and repeat” is a conversation of sorts. “Who’s there? / Over here, over here. / Stay away! / You there? / Feed me! Feed me! / That’s mine! / All’s well….” Frisky wolf pups bound through the forest playing and chasing each other, adding their “yip-yap-yowls” to the “chit-chitter-chattering” of squirrels, the “stomp-stomp-stamps” of a buck, and the “scree-scree-screeches” of a hawk. The rhythmic, lyrical text builds cumulatively from page to page, adding the onomatopoeic vocalizations as each new animal is introduced, at times presenting a tongue-twisting challenge. It all continues until a long, loud howl from the pups’ father elicits the pups’ “yip-yip-yippeeeeee! grr-row-row! row-row!” response, signaling a joyful reunion of the wolf family against a crescendo of boisterous banter. Lovely realistic paintings in earthy hues of greens, browns, and yellows evoke hectic daytime woodland activity before eventually settling down to a soothing nighttime conclusion. Pups snuggle with their mother, and “All’s well.”

A visually attractive rendition with an intensifying, onomatopoeic text that repays the practice it requires for reading aloud. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6665-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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