A cute twist on both the farm and school themes.

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL

From the Turkey Trouble series , Vol. 5

Turkey is excited and ready for the first day of school—but will they let the farm animals in?

The farm children, Max and Millie, both White, are “superexcited” for the first day of school. The farm animals have heard all about it, and they are excited too—especially Turkey, who drills the other animals on their school skills as the big day approaches. But when the school bus arrives, the animals are told to stay at the farm. They hitch a ride in a pickup and spend the whole day devising different plans to get inside the school building. Turkey tries disguising himself as a backpack, a book, a cafeteria worker, and even a soccer ball, but he is always discovered and sent out. Finally, the animals learn how to use the first-week-of-school theme, “Farm Days,” to their advantage. The text is full of silly puns and animal sounds that liven up the reading. The animals’ outsider perspective on the classroom full of children having an exciting day of learning and fun is an entertaining thought experiment for young children, though animal lovers may balk at the exclusion of the hopeful barn dwellers. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations feature quirky characters with wide eyes and expressive features and a relatively diverse class of children. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cute twist on both the farm and school themes. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2364-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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