As a whole, the book ably carries readers past many flying friends and lands with ease in a safe nest.

YOU NEST HERE WITH ME

Nestling her young child in for the night, a mother shares in rhyme the many ways birds bed down to sleep.

“Swallows nest above barn doors, / Plovers nest on sandy shores, // Eagles nest upon high tors, / But you nest here with me.” With an easy cadence and a comforting anchor, Yolen and Stemple drift from cowbird to killdeer, bedding down winged creatures while always returning to the safety of mom and home. Sweet’s illustrations, done in watercolor, gouache and mixed media, use a soft palette of blues and greens in double-page spreads that capture the essence of each bird. The text and the images work well together, balancing the mood of quiet comfort with avian description. With a variety of nest types, the birds show that “home” can be wherever your loved one is close by. Although it has clear application as a bedtime book, there is also a nature book hovering in the wings. The authors’ note provides information such as diet, markings and locations on 14 different birds. The images of each bird’s egg and feather along with its silhouette will surely captivate budding ornithologists.

As a whole, the book ably carries readers past many flying friends and lands with ease in a safe nest. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59078-923-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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