Lyon’s ability to see the connections among things and her affection for the natural world, amply demonstrated in earlier...

WHAT FOREST KNOWS

An extended poetic appreciation for what goes on in a forest through the seasons.

“Forest knows waiting,…Forest knows waking,…Forest knows growing,…[and] Forest knows gathering in.” This lyrical tribute makes note of the changing textures, colors, animals and activities in this beautiful, mysterious world. From buds and birds to moles and centipedes, there is much to see at any time of the year. Hall's painterly Photoshop illustrations, some created over actual photographs, match the poem's mood. Often hazy, just beyond the edge of realistic, they give the impression that there’s still more to be seen. And there is. Parts of an exploring dog appear in each image—coming into the picture or just leaving, hidden behind a tree or partially obscured by a deer's leg. Only toward the end is the whole (and wholly enthusiastic) dog revealed, as well as the child who accompanies it through the forest. Then a double-page spread closes in on the dog’s face, which totally expresses its joy at exploring this world of interesting smells. “Forest knows everything belongs. / YOU, too.” The final page turn invites readers to appreciate this walk through a forest year as much as the poet does.

Lyon’s ability to see the connections among things and her affection for the natural world, amply demonstrated in earlier works, shine through this latest offering. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6775-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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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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