CLUCKY AND THE STARS

Will someone in the farmyard become a star when Howard the owl talent scout makes his visit?

The animals on the farm are all aflutter. “Howard is world famous for seeking near and far, / Discovering new talents and making them big stars.” No stranger to TV himself, he’s discovered a bunny magician and a roller-skating panda who plays the flute. In Clucky’s farmyard, Mona the goat is attempting to sing; George the horse is practicing his dancing; and Bert the turkey “is dressed up as old King Lear.” Even Clucky’s chicks practice their juggling with grapefruit. When Howard arrives in his limo, he steps out—only to trip on a stray grapefruit. Everyone wants to blame the chicks, who flee. Clucky takes the fall and says she was making juice. She cleans Howard up, then gives him an heirloom magnifying glass. Surprisingly, he decides he has found his star in Clucky, saying, “Today has been a special day, / my dear hen, now I know. / I’ve learned that it’s within our / hearts where all new talents grow.” Originally published in Spain, Pavón’s story is as weak on logic as Clucky is on any demonstrated talent. Carretero’s busy, often confusingly composed illustrations, full of goggle-eyed animals with strangely outsized noses, don’t help, nor does the forced verse in Brokenbrow’s translation.

Clucky lays a rotten egg. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-84-18302-02-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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