A lovely affirmation that there is value in wisdom as well as in vigor.


The idyllic life of a sweet-natured donkey.

You might also call her a mule (but you’d be wrong) or a burro, but “the name she likes the best is Daisy.” She got this name because just after her birth, the first time she lifted her head she saw a field of daisies. The donkey has a noble cultural history, from the birth of the baby Jesus to “The Musicians of Bremen” to Don Quixote. On the farm, Daisy works hard and is everyone’s friend. Even the normally standoffish cat purrs loudly when she lies on Daisy’s back. As part of the family, Daisy works hard on the farm, bringing in firewood, playing with the children, and taking them on walks. The years go happily by. As Daisy ages, she grows gradually weaker, deafer, and less agile. One rainy afternoon, a beautiful pony named Dazzle arrives at the farm, young and full of life. Daisy looks on, forgotten by everyone, as the animals flock around their new protector. But when Dazzle knocks over the drinking trough, it’s Daisy who organizes them to set it right and save the water. Gil’s bucolic story (via Brokenbrow’s translation) is generous with text and has many lovely episodes if not a dynamic plot. Álvarez’s vivid illustrations are both beautiful and evocative.

A lovely affirmation that there is value in wisdom as well as in vigor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-8416733323

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...


Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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