STORM IS COMING!

A clever suspense story for very young children also gently shows them the face(s) of silly fears. When Farmer hears a storm is coming, he tells dog to call the animals into the barn. Once gathered there, all the noise wakes up Cat, who, upon being told “STORM IS COMING!,” asks, “And who is Storm?” No one, not dog, not duck, not cows, knows who Storm is, but the weather outside is getting ominous, and the frightened animals hope it will help hide them. Watching and listening, they get increasingly nervous, but are able to find solace in each other until the sun comes back out and so, therefore, they can too, believing Storm never has arrived. The well-paced text told from the animals’ point of view builds suspense, but even younger children will feel “in the know,” understanding how the fear factor comes from just a little ignorance of a word everyone should know, and they will enjoy the inside (the barn) joke. The softened effects, bright colors, and perspective of the drawings reinforce and enhance the story in a blazingly seamless design. While the story does its suspenseful work, the comforted young reader sees the storm through windows along with the animals. Tekavec debuts her perfectly pitched read-aloud, replete with sheep’s bleating stutters, accompanied by Spengler’s (Clickety Clack, 1999) splendid (and somewhat goofy) pastel renderings, to create a package that will be used by storytellers, teachers, and most importantly kids, over and over again. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2626-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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Hee haw.

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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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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