This simply written celebration of the natural world may prompt kids to “trill and chirp” as well.

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IVY BIRD

From sunup until bedtime, Ivy imitates the birds she loves.

She wakes to the “tweets and cheeps” of her canary and spends the day being a bird: pecking at her breakfast, warbling, drinking “sweet nectar” from a play tea set, posing like a flamingo statue, lunching on berries, smelling flowers, collecting “shiny bits and pieces” like a bower bird, splashing in the tub, and finally hooting like an owl when it’s time to “settle in her nest.” Each page turn reveals a different activity. Racklyeft digitally combines watercolor images with printed textures to create colorful illustrations showing the imaginative redhead and her family: mum, bearded dad, and twin baby sibs. Ivy changes her costume to fit her activities and her mood—at one point sporting heart-shaped dark glasses. This Australian import features birds of that country as well as those that are more widespread; the 12 shown on the cover are described in the backmatter. Most can be found in the pages of the text, and there are even more. North American children may also recognize the cockatoo and the domestic chicken who join in her birdsong, though the kookaburra may be more obscure. Happily, the activity of pretending to be a bird is universal. Who hasn’t tried flapping their wings as Ivy does, as she waves a rainbow cloak and chases five bright rosellas?

This simply written celebration of the natural world may prompt kids to “trill and chirp” as well. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7331212-1-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Dot Kids Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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