Pair this with David Small’s Imogene’s Antlers (1985) for prime sick-day silliness.



An Israeli import puts a new spin on the sick-day theme—not to mention the Tiger Mother.

Sadie wakes up feeling funny, and Mama isn’t sure what’s wrong. As it turns out, she has leopardpox, which makes her transform into a leopard cub. Mama’s three sons help her decide how to help Sadie, starting with a visit to the pediatrician. This doesn’t go well, so they head to the veterinarian. Although he’s delighted to have a leopard patient, he can’t help change her back into a child. “Are you sure you don’t want to keep her the way she is?” he asks. “There are lots of little girls, but this is a very cute and special leopard.” Unmoved, Mama replies, “My daughter is also very cute and special…and I miss her.” After determining that school is no place for a leopard, they head to the zoo; but even as a leopard cub, Sadie doesn’t want to be separated from her family, and Mama issues a satisfying roar demanding to be with her daughter. Somehow, snuggles at home cure Sophie of her ailment/transformation, but a punch line at book’s end sees Mama coming down with the same affliction. Throughout, Hoffmann’s cartoonish, mixed-media art is both expressive and descriptive of the family’s travails, and it infuses the book with humor.

Pair this with David Small’s Imogene’s Antlers (1985) for prime sick-day silliness. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-29001-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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


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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