An easy introduction to the joy of being oneself.



An increasingly exasperated fly realizes that it’s OK to take to the air in her own way despite what others may think.

Fly enjoys flying in “wibbles,” “wobbles,” and “wavies,” but she is interrupted again and again by a series of birds who each insist that she is flying the wrong way. From Blackbird, who claims that a straight line is the best way to fly, to Hawk, who advises Fly to dive for her food, each bird comes with a critique and an insistence that Fly do things their way. Fly becomes more fed up with each encounter, but in the end she meets Butterfly, who joins her in her way of flying—but not before Fly mistakenly takes out her frustrations on the even-keeled Butterfly. Fly comes to understand that different is not wrong and that she likes her way of flying just fine. Modeling self-confidence for young readers, Fly decides to tell everyone to buzz off even before she receives external validation. Although the lesson may not be new, the book feels fresh. Hanaor tells Fly’s story with colloquial, pithy language that teaches a lesson without moralizing. Bowsher’s cheerful illustrations are clear and bold, using just black and yellow, and convey a range of emotions and a lot of sass through simple facial expressions.

An easy introduction to the joy of being oneself. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-908714-61-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Cicada Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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