This volume may even lure children (and adults) back to the farm.




Engaging color photos depict smiling farmers and fishermen (and fisherwoman) and gleeful children eating their products.

The colors are intense, and the prolific photographer captures her subjects from all over the U.S. with big smiles, often in midbite. Adults are of different races and genders, but many are white males. The children are very diverse. The people who “grow, raise and catch” are grouped by product: vegetables, berries, citrus, and fruit; wheat, rice, potato, and corn; dairy, beef, chicken, and pig; and fish, shellfish, and lobster. The last pages mention family farms and urban gardens. Starting with black-and-white photos from the early 20th century, the book makes an Oz-like switch to full color. The text mentions the recent locavore trend of farmers markets and farm stands. Each double-page spread is laid out as a grid with several photos and a block or two of text (white letters on a dark-colored background). Simple, declarative sentences describe foods and people. Interesting facts are mentioned: “Corn always has an even number of rows.” Some may wish there could have been a distinction made among different lettuce varieties in the assertion that “even though it’s mostly made up of water, it’s very nutritious.” But that’s a small quibble. This will prove to be an attractive, useful book for food and nutrition units in the lower grades.

This volume may even lure children (and adults) back to the farm. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3643-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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