Don’t wait until it’s freezing to share Turkey’s tongue-testing tale of wordplay and kindness.


A f-f-fun f-f-friendship frolic!

It’s 10 degrees outside when Turkey wakes up cold. Cold Turkey! Get it? The puns and humorous wordplay keep coming. With beak-chattering alliterative commentary, Turkey adds layers and layers of warm clothing. “I need to b-b-bundle up / before I f-f-freeze!” On a tour of the barnyard, Turkey finds his friends are in distress, too. Sheep is “sh-sh-shivering” but still making puns. “I can’t baa-lieve this storm’s so baad!” Cow declares, “This wind is a cow-tastrophy! / It’s udderly insane.” Pig “p-p-pok[es] out / from p-p-piles of straw. / ‘My body’s numb, from snout to bum.’ ” The compassionate friend that he is, Turkey leaves his hat with Sheep, his mittens with Chicken, his scarf with Horse, his sweater to warm Cow’s udder, and his snow pants for Pig. Turkey’s “loaned out all his loot. / He wobble[s] homeward, cold and bare, / in just his birthday suit! / Turkey t-t-totter[s]. / ‘What a fierce, ferocious storm! / I may be getting frostbite, / but at least my heart feels warm.’ ” But his friends make sure more than just Turkey’s heart is warm by building a fire that comforts them all. Otis’ genial cartoons add touches of humor on their own as Turkey distributes his layers to his friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Don’t wait until it’s freezing to share Turkey’s tongue-testing tale of wordplay and kindness. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-43011-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...


A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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