With its combination of understated text and witty art, this book will leave most readers hankering (read: begging,...

HOW TO WASH A WOOLLY MAMMOTH

Step-by-step advice for tackling the task of mammoth hygiene.

Moving to a very different pachyderm from the one in her previous title, What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (2012), Robinson instructs readers in the best ways to give your average everyday mammoth a bath. Taking cues from instructional guides, Hindley depicts diagrams of properly filled baths, figures that show how to get one’s mammoth into the bathtub and even an array of possible soapy hairstyles. A misstep involving soap and large eyes leads to a very dirty mammoth escapee. So dirty, in fact, that the raincoat-clad heroine ends up taking a bath with him, much to the mutual contentment of the two. The art lifts what might otherwise have been an average outing with a delightfully expressive mammoth (he may not speak a word, but his eyebrows alone convey volumes). Lined ledger paper stands in perfectly for bathroom tiles, and even the rubber ducky is an interesting character to follow.

With its combination of understated text and witty art, this book will leave most readers hankering (read: begging, pleading) for a prehistoric pet of their very own. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9966-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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