A cute twist on both the farm and school themes.


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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A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture...


Displaying his distinctive voice and images, Reynolds celebrates the joys and challenges of being a creative spirit.

“I am a HAPPY DREAMER,” cheers a thin, spiky-haired white boy as he flies skyward, streaming yellow swirls of sparkles. This little “dreamer maximus” piles on the energy with colors and noise and the joy-filled exuberance he has for life. “Wish you could HEAR inside my head / TRUMPETY, ZIGZAG JAZZ!” With clear honesty, he shares that the world tells him to be quiet, to focus and pay attention. Like a roller-coaster ride, Reynolds’ text and illustrations capture the energetic side of creativity and the gloom of cleaning up the messes that come with it while providing a wide vocabulary to describe emotional brilliance and resilience. The protagonist makes no apologies for expressing his feelings and embracing his distinct view of the world. This makes him happy. The book finishes with a question to readers: “What kind of dreamer are you?” Hinging outward, the double-page spread opens to four panels, each with a dozen examples of multiracial children being happy and being dreamers, showing inspiring possibilities for exploration. The best way, of course, is to “just BE YOU.”

A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-86501-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Hee haw.

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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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