WHEN THE COWS GOT LOOSE

Similar in premise to Tres Seymour’s Hunting the White Cow (1993), but far from that tale’s delicate serenity, this wild romp pits young Ida Mae against no fewer than 26 strayed cattle—each portrayed as a different breed in Hoyt’s broadly comic scenes. So where have those bumptious bovines gotten to? Though you’d barely know it from Ida Mae’s irritated, country-cadenced commentary, everyone here, two-legged and four-, is a circus performer. Ida Mae’s “farmhouse” is a rolling Fun House, she gets around atop a zebra, her Mom chops wood by throwing axes and the decidedly loose-jointed livestock have invaded the neighbors’ yards to practice wire-walking, chair-balancing and other acrobatic acts. By the end, the errant have been coaxed back to home pastures, and Ida Mae is left in her favorite position—hanging upside down from a tree limb—dreaming of bovines beneath the Big Top. Further proof that cows are funny; young audiences will line up for return admission to this show. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-689-85166-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME

Mercy is back in this fun third installment of merrymaking, buttered-toast eating, and crime solving. When she’s awakened by the sound of the toaster being dragged across the counter, she discovers a cowboy named Leroy walking off with a sackful of kitchen loot. Exhaustion gets the better of the porcine wonder and she settles down for a nap while Leroy settles down to some serious stealing. When Leroy opens up a butter-barrel candy, our butter-loving heroine wakes and gives Leroy a pig-bronco ride as she searches for the source of the butter smell. Of course, neighbors Eugenia and Baby Lincoln get in on the act and soon the firefighters and Officer Tomilello do too. A snack of toast with a great deal of butter follows for all. Silly crime-solving for the growing number of Mercy’s young fans moving on from easy readers. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2590-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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