MINDI AND THE GOOSE NO ONE ELSE COULD SEE

A loving father and a wise neighbor find a way for Mindi’s invisible goose to depart.

Mindi’s goose, seen as a large and looming shadow on her bedroom wall, “came into her room as quietly as a thought…and…stayed there for as long as it wanted to.” Children will understand that Mindi can’t get rid of the goose on her own. Mindi’s father hikes over the hills to visit Austen, a “wise old man” who helps others with “sensible advice.” Austen asks that Mindi journey with her father to visit. Austen allows her to feed a young goat some apricots. “If she likes you she will give you back the stone.” The hidden stones of the apricots and, later, plums returned by the little goat to Mindi’s hand seem poetic and meaningful. The little girl gives the heretofore nameless kid a pragmatic name: Black-and-Whitey. When, a week later, Austen arrives at Mindi’s house, little goat in tow, and tells Mindi that the goat is hers in exchange for “the big goose no one else can see,” Mindi’s mother’s expression is amusing. McBratney’s posthumously published tale is filled with a gentle kindness, and the illustrations pick up on that, both treating the child’s fear with respect. Ólafsdóttir’s country scenes are tidy and filled with sunlight, Austen’s many animals look contented, and a young goat bounces across the endpapers. All the characters are White. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.6-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 29.1% of actual size.)

Low-key and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1281-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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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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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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