A brightly illustrated story perfect for the very beginner reader.

CROW MADE A FRIEND

From the I Like To Read series

Crow is alone. How will he make a friend?

A lonely crow tries to make a friend, literally. As the seasons progress, the plans change. In the fall, he uses sticks for a body, a crabapple for a head, and leaves for wings. But when the wind blows, his friend is gone. In winter, he piles snow, adds a seed for an eye, and sticks for wings. But when the sun shines, his friend is gone. When spring comes along, a bird calls, and this time Crow finds a real friend. Together they build a nest, and come summer, Crow has a family. Children taking their first steps into reading will easily follow the simple text on each page. The illustrations complement the text brilliantly. Done in ink and watercolors, an iridescent crow, his colorful creations, and his final true friend stand out against a white background. Readers will appreciate Crow’s resourcefulness as he creates his friends and will not need any prompting when they read the “Oh no!” text as the wind blows the fall creation to pieces or the sun melts the winter creation. The overall message of the importance of friends and family is sweet but not cloying.

A brightly illustrated story perfect for the very beginner reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3297-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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