What happens when spring strikes the fancy of a 600-pound pig with personality and panache? Confined to his pen all winter, Christopher Hogwood smells the rich, inviting mud. Beguiled by sunlight, the light-footed porker opens the gate and heads to the garden for a light lettuce snack, until a frustrated gardener wards him off. Unruffled, Christopher Hogwood follows his nose to the lawn, which he proceeds to roll up like a carpet with his snout. When the distraught lawn owner chases him with a broom, the mud-mad piggy trots toward a “deep, deep earth smell” and discovers an excavator at work. Leaving chaos in his wake, Christopher Hogwood seems content to ‘let” the nice policeman lure him home with a bucket of apples. Life is good. Based on experiences with his own pig, Mansfield spins this affectionate paean with tongue firmly in cheek, while Moser’s stunning watercolors capture Christopher Hogwood at his most luminous: dreaming innocently in his pen; indifferently munching lettuce; snout-deep in freshly plowed dirt; mud-splattered and insouciant. Some pig indeed! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 29, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59643-269-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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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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Though she never says outright that he was a real person, Kurtz introduces newly emergent readers to the historical John Chapman, walking along the Ohio, planting apple seeds, and bartering seedlings to settlers for food and clothing. Haverfield supplies the legendary portions of his tale, with views of a smiling, stylishly ragged, clean-shaven young man, pot on head, wildlife on shoulder or trailing along behind. Kurtz caps her short, rhythmic text with an invitation to “Clap your hands for Johnny Chapman. / Clap your hands for Johnny Appleseed!” An appealing way to open discussions of our country’s historical or legendary past. (Easy reader/nonfiction. 5-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85958-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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