A heartwarming children’s story about seeing the value in every living thing.

EVERY TURTLE COUNTS

An enchanting picture book about a young girl who finds strength in helping animals.

Hunter (The Lighthouse Santa, 2011, etc.) introduces readers to Mimi, a girl who speaks only to echo what others say, and her loving, persistent mother, who’s determined to find a way to communicate with her. Mimi loves the beach, but she’s more interested in running across the dunes than she is in searching for seashells with her mother. When Mimi trips and falls next to the water, she finds a sea turtle, stunned by the cold, staring back at her, and she feels an immediate connection with the wounded creature—even though everyone believes that the motionless turtle is dead. It takes a friendly member of the Audubon Society to convince the adults in Mimi’s life that her turtle stands a chance of survival, and he takes it to a rescue center. When Mimi goes to visit the turtle, which the scientists call Ridley 3, it becomes apparent that the bond they share may change both their lives. Mimi quickly proves that the adults were wrong to write Ridley 3 off and that she, too, may have a brighter future than anyone imagined. This charming picture book, written with perceptiveness and candor, sets up teachable moments that feel natural and organic. For example, readers are introduced to Mimi long before her autism is mentioned, and the matter-of-fact, compassionate depiction of Mimi’s special needs is both child friendly and honest. The author’s gentle voice rings just as clearly in her explanation of endangered sea turtles, which is neither sugarcoated nor too scary for elementary schoolers. Children will likely empathize with Mimi’s determination to help Ridley 3, and this beautifully written story may help inspire a new generation of open-minded activists.

A heartwarming children’s story about seeing the value in every living thing.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1931807258

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peter E. Randall Publisher

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2013

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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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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