KISS THE COW!

A refreshing, original American tall tale. Root (All for the Newborn Baby, p. 1431, etc.) is a master of storytelling: with simple language, predictable rhythms and repetition, and flawless pacing, this story begs to be read aloud, again and again. Mama May had a magic cow, lovely Luella, whose milk never failed. The secret was that Mama May sang to her to get enough milk to feed her many children; sang again to stop the flow; then thanked Luella with a kiss on her velvety brown nose. Mama May’s daughter Annalisa “wasn’t the youngest, and she wasn’t the oldest, but she was the most curious and the most stubborn.” So despite her mother’s warnings, Annalisa just had to milk that cow. Annalisa sang the songs and milked the cow—but she didn’t kiss the cow. When Luella did not give milk, Mama May knew whom to suspect. Even though Mama May patiently requested, and the hungry siblings begged, Annalisa, who was as stubborn as she was curious, refused to kiss the cow. Hillenbrand’s (Down by the Station, 1999, etc.) illustrations are of mixed dry media: colored pencil, chalk, and ink layered on vellum, a technique that creates a richness and depth of field and gives an almost marbleizing texture to the figures. He presents a variety of visual perspectives, including sweeping landscapes and homey indoor vignettes. And his immense attention to detail is gratifying, portraying the humor and pathos of the story. A satisfying treat—from the front endpapers, which depict a multitude of children jumping from a hayloft to the final endpapers of satiated faces with milk mustaches. Certain to be a hit with kids and adults, this deserves a big smooch. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0298-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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