DYLAN THE EAGLE-HEARTED CHICKEN

A case of egg-napping and mistaken identity finds a chicken being raised in the household of an eagle. Dylan is still an egg when his mother, Ethel, decides to stretch her cramped legs, only to have her cherished egg snatched by a balding crow who thinks an egg is just what’s needed to grow some new feathers. Ethel creates such a ruckus, the crow drops the egg into a nest high in a tree, said nest harboring two much larger eggs. Ethel, who can’t fly worth a hoot, clucks and cries down below as an eagle returns to that nest. Momma eagle, “whose name is too hard to pronounce,” is suspicious of the little egg, but with a mother’s protectiveness, she keeps it warm until it hatches. It’s a sorry creature that emerges, in the eagle’s eye, and Dylan looks even sorrier when the other two eggs hatch. He establishes communication with Ethel below, but is confounded as to who his real mother is. When he hasn’t got a taste for the grub the mother eagle supplies, nor can he fly any better than any other chicken, he has his own suspicions. These are finally laid to rest when a fox nearly eats Ethel and his childlike protectiveness swings into action, summoning in Dylan the boldness, if not the grace, of an eagle. Though not very strong in the identity department, this is most pleasurable in the confusion Dylan generates in the eagle family: the mother’s befuddlement and the siblings’ desire to eat him (he “smells just like chicken”). Harrison’s (Volcanoes, p. 1131, etc.) telling has that droll wit that bespeaks the silliness of the situation. Brooks’s (Sister for Sale, not reviewed, etc.) art tends to be sugary when it comes to Dylan, with his pop eyes and furry feathers, but it also has the spark of narrative animation, making it easy for younger readers to follow. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 1-56397-982-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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