A nicely paced, visually fresh read-aloud treat celebrating friendship.

READ REVIEW

SNOWFLAKE IN MY POCKET

A snowy day transforms the world for a young squirrel longing to share the experience with his best friend.

Wise and seasoned Bear lives with young Squirrel in an old oak. When they explore the forest together, Bear experiences everything “new again with Squirrel by his side.” One icy night, Bear warns of snow. When Squirrel wakes up, he scrapes a hole in the frosty window, revealing the snowy world outside. Bear has a cold so Squirrel ventures outdoors alone to “have fun for both of them.” All seems perfect as Squirrel crunches, runs, and rolls in the fresh snow, excitedly making snow angels and snow bears, but he misses Bear and catches a snowflake to bring home. Alas, the snowflake melts in Squirrel’s pocket, prompting Bear to sagely remind Squirrel, “snow comes and snow goes” but their friendship will last. Using simple, brightly colored, cut-paper forms enhanced with delicate pencil etchings, the engaging illustrations neatly contrast the snowy outdoors with the homey indoors. A circle motif (Bear’s and Squirrel’s round heads, round cameo scenes, round moon, round snowflakes, and a round cutout window providing a peek-through experience) reinforce the circle of friendship. Onomatopoeic phrases such as “splosh-splish” and “thumpety-thud” as well as intriguing pencil details beg readers’ participation.

A nicely paced, visually fresh read-aloud treat celebrating friendship. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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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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