Storytimers and newly independent readers alike will enjoy this trio’s continuing adventures.

READ REVIEW

UP THE CREEK

From the Life in the Wild series

The bear, the moose and the beaver might be friends, but they can’t agree on anything!

One nice, sunny day, the three friends decide to go for a canoe trip down the river. All of them want to steer—and that tips the canoe, and they all end up in the water. A game of “Eenie-Meenie-Minie-Moe” puts the moose in the stern, but they all insist on paddling on the same side of the canoe. They’re so stubborn that they just circle for a long time. It’s only when they get tired that they start switching sides and move forward. When they come to a beaver dam, no one can agree on how to get over the blockage. Once over the dam (the bear’s idea to portage wins out), the trip goes smoothly…until the bickering starts. They’re yelling so loudly that they don’t hear the waterfall, and that strands them on a rock in the middle of the river. They argue well into the night. It’s not until the next morning that it dawns on the friends that they’ll never get to shore unless they work together. Canadian author/illustrator Oldland’s fourth Life in the Wild picture book features all three of his blocky cartoon woodland characters in a fine tale of friendship and cooperation. Gentle humor, both visual and textual, make this an easy and not preachy lesson.

Storytimers and newly independent readers alike will enjoy this trio’s continuing adventures. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-894786-32-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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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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