A hand-sized book holds a humorous tale of a goose raised by woodchucks. Bang (Chattanooga Sludge, p. 444, etc.) begins: "On a dreadfully dark and stormy night, an egg was blown right out of its nest." The goose egg rolls into a deep dark hole and lands in a den of woodchucks where it hatches. The woodchucks raise the goose as one of their own and try to teach it what a woodchuck should know, with some success. The still-earthbound goose, however, sets off into the world to find out what more there is, falls off a cliff, and discovers she can fly. Bang makes intriguing use of perspective, multiple images, frames, and borders. In the first pages, white, gray, and aqua images are painted across black backgrounds, with rain pelting down in and out of the frame; the trunk of a wind-bent tree is in the border, with its branches the focus of the picture. Elsewhere, the egg rolls right out of the frame and lands on the next page. Other pictures look like snapshots from the woodchuck family album, with a formal portrait as well as tiny, candid shots of the goose and siblings digging, moving logs, grazing, and swimming. Children will scrutinize every illustration carefully, taking pleasure from the innumerable discoveries therein. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-590-89005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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