Like a ball rolling downhill, the combined momentum of verse and page turn should impel pre-readers to leap and then...

LEAP!

Creatures great and small spring into action on a sunny day.

With a determined cadence and a graphic bang, Lawson and Bisaillon wed their talents in presenting a sumptuous snapshot of nature on the go. Lawson’s animated poem starts small with an irritated flea’s decision to “LEAP!” that then leads to other creatures making similar jumps in a great crescendo of movement that climaxes when a horse leaps a fence before things return full circle to the flea at rest. Motivated by the irresistible impulse to move, the flea hops “into the path / of a little grasshopper,” who then lands on a bunny, who “bounds out / as the clouds roll in,” inspiring a dog to jump into a lake and scare the fish “wide awake,” as they “break the surface with a / flip, flop, shake” and “knock off a bullfrog’s / lily-pad crown” as he springs and lands right “next to the nose / of a high-strung horse,” who rears back from taking a drink of lake water, and…one gets the idea. Bisaillon’s vibrant, watercolor-inspired mixed-media illustrations capture the fullness of the domino effect of Lawson’s action-packed lyric, vibrantly showcasing the interconnectedness of flora, fauna, sun, and sky.

Like a ball rolling downhill, the combined momentum of verse and page turn should impel pre-readers to leap and then sleep—but not before demanding that those reading to them repeat: not to be missed. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-678-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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