There’s a lot to be said for taking a few moments to look around.

A FRIEND FOR BEAR

So giddy with pent-up energy is newly awake little Bear that she can’t stop running to take in the joys of spring.

Like a world-class sugar rush, Bear’s need for speed sends her bursting out of the den with such exuberance that she stops only to scoop up a tortoise she trips over—and proceeds to ignore his suggestions to smell the flowers or play with a pair of fox cubs, his objection to climbing a tree, and, when it comes to jumping into the river, the fact that he can’t swim. Wet and tired, Tortoise at last puts his foot down and counters Bear’s protest that there’s so much left to do with the observation that it’s bedtime. The response is predictable: “NOOOOOOOOOO!” Pedler propels her tubby cub, Tortoise clinging gamely on, through sunny woods and meadows alight with fresh greens, bright flowers, and capering wildlife. She then, following Tortoise’s reassurance that tomorrow will bring new opportunities to run, make friends, and maybe sit for a time, sends the pair back at a more sedate pace suitable for appreciating nature’s beauties. Younger audiences with a yen to put pedal to the metal will get the point here, even if they shrug it off.

There’s a lot to be said for taking a few moments to look around. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-188-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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