The weakest of Jo’s three adventures; still, this could be a good checklist for young children to use on their own...


Quattlebaum and Bryant continue their nature-themed sing-along books with one focused on the sounds of the forest animals.

Jo MacDonald and her grandfather head out for a hike in the woods, the familiar childhood song inspiring the pair to describe the animal sounds they hear: the rat-tat of a woodpecker, the err-err of a squirrel, the gobble-gobble of a turkey and more. The hoo-hoo of an owl ends the day, Jo in her grandfather’s arms. Some of the sounds may test (and fail!) the limits of human hearing—the chomp-chomp of a chipmunk eating, a snake’s slither-slither, the shuffle-shuffle of a turtle, the pad-pad of a skunk and a moth’s flutter-flutter. Bryant’s watercolors are sweetly lovely, not only capturing the relationship between the girl and her grandfather (though their faces could be more expressive), but also simplifying the nature scenes in order to highlight the important parts of the ecosystem and to allow young children to easily spot the featured animal and the squirrel that appears in each spread. Backmatter includes extensive information about trees; a paragraph of information about each of the animals, plants and trees in the illustrations; a section on how to emulate Jo, a naturalist; and a list of questions (not all of which can be answered by the text as the directions state—kids may be hard-pressed to draw a squirrel’s drey, for instance).

The weakest of Jo’s three adventures; still, this could be a good checklist for young children to use on their own animal-spotting, or -listening, hike. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58469-334-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dawn Publications

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”


Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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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