A slice-of-life look at a mother grizzly and her two cubs in Yellowstone National Park. After a winter’s hibernation, a grizzly “explodes in a shower of snow from the entrance of its den,” followed by two three-month-old cubs. Mother grizzly adjusts to the light, reads the wind, and initiates the search for food. She sates herself on roots and bulbs, pulls a ground squirrel from its hole, and spies a hawk without great action. The face of a boar grizzly then significantly fills the page, and mother grizzly confronts the young male over an elk carcass, fighting to protect her cubs with snapping jaw and slashing claws until the male bolts into the woods. Readers interested enough to follow a grizzly through a typical day may pick up tidbits of information along the way, but the overall search for food never emerges as a real story. Snowy landscapes deepened by red sunsets give way to the green, flowering meadows of April in Yellowstone, the perfect naturalistic scenery for outdoor panoramas showcasing the shaggy-coated creatures nuzzling, hunting, loping, tussling, and resting. The horizontal spreads are broken only by left and right hand blocks of text set against a light beige background imitative of aspen bark—a nice touch. An extensive author’s note outlines size, characteristics, and habitat; a list of further reading includes two bear web sites. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-7613-0059-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

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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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Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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