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TURKEY'S VALENTINE SURPRISE

From the Turkey Trouble series , Vol. 6

The spirit of Valentine’s Day shines bright in this caring community.

Gobble, gobble! Grab this farmyard story full of Valentine’s Day puns.

The animals on Farmer Jake’s farm are exchanging valentines. Delighted by a card from a secret admirer (“You are like no otter!”), Turkey decides to make clever valentines and surreptitiously deliver them to the other animals. Luckily, he has some punny inspiration for perfect Valentine’s Day messages. “You’re purr-fect.” “You’re dog-gone delightful.” “You’re toad-ally awesome!” As Turkey dons a different disguise for each delivery, the story offers a refrain that young listeners will soon chant. “His costume wasn’t bad. In fact, Turkey looked just like a cat…almost.” (The refrain changes slightly with each disguise.) Unfortunately, the other animals always recognize Turkey and greet him with a pun. But the animals also compliment his valentine and help to create a pun for his next one. Sadly, the animals always know who the valentines are from, so Turkey decides to “gobble, gobble, give up!” Returning home to read his own valentines, Turkey has an idea, and he quickly creates a festive and delicious surprise for the Valentine’s dance. Readers will have to decide if Turkey has finally managed to surprise the other animals. Boldfaced puns within the story are easy to spot, and Turkey’s cards also feature puns along with adorable illustrations. Detailed watercolor and pencil illustrations bring to life a farm filled with loving friends and highlight Turkey’s clever and ever changing costumes. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The spirit of Valentine’s Day shines bright in this caring community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2366-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

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. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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