Terrific for young horse lovers. (Picture book. 5-9)


On Sable Island, off the Nova Scotia coast, a young stallion finds a home and his own band of wild horses, surviving in spite of winter storms and even hurricanes.

Unlike the horses on Assateague and other U.S. barrier islands, the Sable Island herd of 300 has been left completely wild, protected by the Canadian government since 1960. Markle here introduces them to young readers with an imagined story. Purposely dropped off from a schooner, perhaps in the mid-1700s, the young horse, possibly bred for racing, spends his first year with a group of “bachelors,” learning to eat the sand- and ice-crusted marsh grass and to find water in frozen holes. Come spring, he finds a band of mares and takes over as leader, fending off a challenger and surviving a monster storm by taking his band to shelter between the dunes. This simple narrative has been illustrated with glowing oil paintings on double-page spreads. Every scene will delight. The animals are shown in a variety of postures and activities: rearing to challenge gray seals or each other, knee deep in a marsh full of flowers, in fog and snow, galloping free, running from a storm and facing the sunset. Children perplexed by the unexplained abandonment of the horse will find some clarification in the author’s note; lists of books and websites complete the package.

Terrific for young horse lovers. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9766-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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Hee haw.

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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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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.


A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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