That Aarón and his family are Latino is just icing on the cake in this engaging introduction to keeping backyard chickens.

READ REVIEW

HENS FOR FRIENDS

Aarón loves all his family’s chickens, but Rhode Island Red Margaret is his special favorite.

It’s no wonder, as Margaret has an especially fetching expression in Hansen’s line-and-watercolor illustrations, which take advantage of natural chicken physiognomy to endow Margaret and the rest of the flock with demure “smiles.” They make it clear that it’s not just the eggs that spur Aarón’s devotion. In a simple, personable narration, Aarón tells readers that his family got their flock from Mother Hen Chicken Rescue after the city council passed an ordinance allowing residents to keep the birds. He explains how they house, care for, and feed the chickens, gather eggs, and use the composted “poop” in their garden. When Aarón remarks that the chickens’ dust baths look like fun, his mother soberly explains that factory-farm chickens live in decidedly worse conditions. With that one exception, De Lisle keeps the tone light, ending the story with a birthday cake for little brother Eduardo made with Margaret’s eggs. Backmatter explains more about chicken keeping, offers tips on chicken care, and for readers prepared to keep them responsibly, suggests resources for chicken adoption. Margaret and the rest of the flock are depicted on the endpapers, but it’s a shame that they are not specifically identified by breed.

That Aarón and his family are Latino is just icing on the cake in this engaging introduction to keeping backyard chickens. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-940719-26-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Gryphon Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more