It's a lovely, poetic picture.

IT'S MILKING TIME

On a Midwestern dairy farm, a young girl helps her father with the daily milking chores, leading their Holsteins to the barn, feeding the calves, shoveling manure and washing up.

The refrain, “Every morning, every night, / it's milking time,” emphasizes the repetitive nature of dairy farm chores, done “Every day of the week, / every week of the month, / every month of the year.” In short lines set on full-bleed, double-page paintings, the narrator describes the process. These cows are milked serially with a single milking machine. Pail by pail, the foamy milk is poured into cans, which are set into a cooler and later trucked away. Paddles help carry off manure, but the feeding, straw-spreading and washing up are done by hand. This farm is not yet entirely mechanized. The subdued colors of Fancher and Johnson's soft acrylics add to the sense of dreamy reminiscence. Though there are still small farms where milking happens like this, few children, today, have had a chance to drink their own fresh milk with morning pancakes, nor have their mothers skimmed off the cream for coffee. This fond memory from the author’s own childhood should find a place on shelves right next to Carole Foskett Cordsen’s The Milkman, illustrated by Douglas B. Jones (2005).

It's a lovely, poetic picture.   (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86911-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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Hee haw.

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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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Chilling in the best ways.

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CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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