Skillfully told and satisfying, this is sure to delight young listeners in on the joke.

FIND A COW NOW!

When Bird sends restless Dog to the country to find a cow to herd, the result is a comical series of misidentifications and an exhausting trip.

The Stevens sisters (Help Me, Mr. Mutt, 2008, etc.) return with another appealing animal adventure. After Dog mistakenly tries to herd a chicken, a pig and an ill-tempered donkey, he’s rescued by a large brown-and-white animal who takes him back to the city. Only after surprised city dwellers send them back out to the country does Dog discover that the helpful creature is called Cow. The enthusiastic but slightly dim-witted Australian cattle dog and exasperated budgie are generically named but realistically depicted in Stevens’ illustrations, rendered in soft acrylic washes over pencil combined with collage. From vignettes to double-page spreads, they tell the story as unmistakably as the simple text. The animals’ postures express their emotions, while sounds—from “Cluck cluck! Peck peck!” to “Yip! Yip! Yee-haw!” and “Eee-eee-kkk!!”—add read-aloud interest to the pictures. Even the direction of Dog’s travel is clear: from left to right as he goes from city to country, and right to left returning. The circular narrative, which opens with Dog napping, ends with the dog-tired traveler asleep again.

Skillfully told and satisfying, this is sure to delight young listeners in on the joke. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2218-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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