Although it has been done before (many times), this take stands out for its clever heroine who just won’t give up.

CINDY MOO

The classic nursery rhyme gets the cows on the Diddle Farm thinking, but none so much as Cindy Moo, who is determined to jump over the moon.

After arguing whether the feat is even feasible, the cows all listen as Cindy Moo declares that she is the cow who will do it. But her first try fails, and she gets the requisite “told you so” from the other cows, who urge her to give up. Her second try is no more successful. And then the worst happens—rain clouds cover the moon completely. But this serendipitous event actually helps the clever bovine achieve her goal. “Her friends came out and marveled much. / ‘Ms. Moo, you’ve done it now!’ / ‘A cow can really jump the moon, / as long as she knows how.’ ” The scansion in Mortensen’s verse works well, with just a few minor exceptions, making this a good read-aloud—and the final word of some verses is separated by a page turn, allowing audience participation. Mack’s cows are a delight, although none stand out save Cindy Moo with her pink bow, cowbell and brown spots. None of the cows have udders, and all but the heroine sport tiny horns.

Although it has been done before (many times), this take stands out for its clever heroine who just won’t give up. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-204393-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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