This book may make free-range storytimes de rigueur.

CHICKEN STORY TIME

One chicken at storytime might be fun, but more than one….

“Story time at the library. // One librarian. One story. Children. / And a chicken. // The children like the chicken. The chicken likes the children. / ‘Let’s begin,’ says the librarian. Everyone loves story time.” The next week, though there is still just one librarian (a white woman with huge, round glasses) and one story, there are both more children and more chickens (both diverse in color and race/breed). The crowd is a bit unruly, but the librarian gets them seated, and everyone has a wonderful time. The next week, however, there are many children and flocks of chickens. The librarian can’t be heard over the clucking din and the laughter. Then she has a brilliant idea: have each child read a different story to several chickens…and everyone loves storytime again (including the librarian, who gets to put her feet up and have tea). Asher’s not-quite-cumulative tale of a poultry invasion of the public library told in simple declarative sentences will have little listeners wishing for more farm fowl at their libraries. Fearing’s part-traditional, part-digital illustrations are a mix of full- and double-page spreads and comics-style panels (some without words) that assist in the telling of the tale. Chicken shenanigans (they pop out of the book drop, use computers, and balance books on their heads) as well as their expressions add to the mayhem and enjoyment.

This book may make free-range storytimes de rigueur. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3944-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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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