This lighthearted story revels in the small acts that make life better—cheers all around

HOORAY FOR HAT!

All the animals are grumpy until a surprise brightens their day in this tale about the joy of sharing.

With eyebrows knit and feet clenched, Elephant stomps downstairs. A black-scribble cloud hovers over his head. But his anger melts into delight when he finds a gift on the doorstep—a tall and very silly hat comprising many other hats stacked one on top of the other. Happily, Elephant puts it on, exclaiming, “Hooray for hat!” Wanting to show others, he runs from one home to the next, distributing hats one by one and perking up his crabby crew of friends. When Elephant’s hats are all gone, the pals each contribute their own to make a new gift for Giraffe. The artwork, done in a pastel palette, is appealing and playful, and the heritage of Mary Blair can be seen in the spreads. Everything—from the composition of the characters to the way the images are placed with relation to the type—is well-designed. Won especially plays with definition, form and color. As each surly animal is introduced, it becomes less defined: Turtle is a shell, Owl a silhouette and Lion a dark cave. But when the animals join the hat party, they emerge in expressive, full form.

This lighthearted story revels in the small acts that make life better—cheers all around . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-15903-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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