Striking visuals that combine compelling use of shape, page design and color successfully carry this version of an oft-told...


A picture book about an unexpected friendship.

Big, hairy, scary Yeti lives deep in the forest, and the other animals are afraid of him, so they leave him alone. But Yeti, for all his bulk and bluster, is lonely. When a small red bird, lost, lands on him by mistake, he roars, but she is unafraid. The two strike up an unlikely friendship, playing games during the day and singing “sweet, sad songs together” each evening that “[soothe] the forest to sleep.” However, the season is changing to winter, and Yeti’s cold forest is no place for the bright bird. Sadly, they part, and Yeti, having known friendship, feels more alone than ever. That is, until the other forest animals, having seen Yeti’s soft side, make friendly overtures, and Yeti finds a life filled with companions—including the red bird, who drops by when she can. A tale about an unlikely friendship that changes a lonely life is not a new theme, but Shireen writes with admirable restraint and fills in the narrative gaps with engaging illustrations. Her double-page spreads create potent atmosphere with carefully placed strong shapes and forthright color. Spot illustrations effectively convey easy-to-understand action and humor.

Striking visuals that combine compelling use of shape, page design and color successfully carry this version of an oft-told story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0389-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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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 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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