Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm.

SEÑOR PANCHO HAD A RANCHO

Colato Laínez (The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, 2010) presents a bicultural rendition of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” one of the most widely known and loved children’s songs.

This book introduces readers to the various animals on two separate farms. On the first page of each spread is Old MacDonald and a traditional verse of the song in English. The next page presents Señor Pancho, whose rancho is also filled with animals whose Spanish names and sounds are blended into the English text. The opening pages prepare readers who may not be familiar with Spanish by providing a glossary of terms and a pronunciation guide to the Spanish sounds. Finally, the animals from the two farms meet, and everyone joins in dancing and singing, mixing all of the sounds and names together. The lively illustrations are imbued with movement and humor, significantly contributing to the overall joy of the book. Subtle nuances, such as in landscape and textile patterns, are used to distinguish Old MacDonald and Señor Pancho. For some readers, the repetition of each verse might lack sufficient action to keep them engaged. Others, however, will enjoy learning the names of the animals in both English and Spanish and comparing the onomatopoeia in each language.

Chock-full of bicultural fun on the farm. (glossary, pronunciation guide, author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2632-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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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