A catchy, “hippy-hoppy” storytime read-aloud with “easy, breezy” language.



A “teeny-tiny” toad leaps into a big, rhyming adventure.

A twig snaps, launching the toad up into a tree. A bird pecks, and the toad plunges down into a flower. A bee buzzes, and the toad books it into the grass. On and on it goes, as the toad encounters more and more nearby creatures, each time swiftly employing his best exit strategy. The cadence of the language calls to mind the nursery classic “Over in the Meadow,” but the predictable, circular plot is different enough to warrant multiple rereadings. Archer’s wordplay shines in her use of rhyming adjectives, such as “teeter-totter,” “raggy-shaggy,” and “hush-rush.” The typeface is large and readable against the simple backgrounds—especially the bold onomatopoeic sounds and actions, printed in colorful display type. Wilsdorf’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations expertly synchronize with the rhythm of the text: a visual pattern of spot illustrations followed by three-quarter-page spreads to introduce each new verse and setting. Readers will delight in the toad’s many silly expressions and in opportunities to test their memories of the plot. The sparse endpapers, depicting toad riding a leaf in the breeze, suggest prior and further journeys for the hapless amphibian.

A catchy, “hippy-hoppy” storytime read-aloud with “easy, breezy” language. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-55676-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.


Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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