A delightful way to share metamorphosis with the littlest listeners.


From the Hedgehugs series

Hedgehog best friends Horace and Hattie are back, this time marveling at the wonder that is metamorphosis.

As in their first outing, this book begins by introducing the two friends, sharing what they like to do together as well as apart. One day, the two find something “small and shiny and smooth” under a leaf. They are lucky enough to witness the caterpillar hatching from this egg (“egg,” “caterpillar,” “chrysalis,” “butterfly,” and “metamorphosis” are never used in the text). The “wriggly, stripy thing” starts to eat, and it eats and eats and eats and gets bigger, until one day “it made a soft, silky bed, and there it slept for many days and many nights.” The two then spy the cocoon opening; “something beautiful, colorful, and wonderful” crawls out and then flutters away. Taken with this process, Horace and Hattie decide to try it themselves. They eat and eat and eat, then pile flowers in a heap and crawl in to sleep. They emerge transformed and colorful, the petals stuck to their spines, and they can even fly…on their swings. The duo are delightfully naïve and filled with wonder and imagination. Tapper’s textured, digital illustrations have lots of details that will provoke smiles, as when Horace angrily points his finger in a “go away” gesture at a hungry bird, protecting the caterpillar.

A delightful way to share metamorphosis with the littlest listeners. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-414-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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