Exciting jungle high jinks starring one adorable little monkey and her protective Papa.

QUICK, LITTLE MONKEY!

Clinging to her father’s back, Little Monkey travels safely across jungle treetops until one day she’s distracted and tumbles downward to the dark forest floor, where hungry predators lurk.

Rhythmic text describes how Little Monkey loves “to fly” from “vine to vine” and “branch to branch,” holding tightly to her Papa’s fur as he carries her “high and safe and quick in the bright, loud, green world.” When Papa warns Little Monkey to hide on a tree branch and stay still, she can’t resist reaching out for a butterfly and slips “down into a quiet dark.” Remembering Papa’s advice to hide, keep still, and hold tight, Little Monkey barely escapes a menacing ocelot by climbing up to a “coiled and curved” vine that turns out to be a sinister boa. Fortunately, Papa arrives in the nick of time. Bold pencil lines, atmospheric watercolor washes in bright greens, browns, and yellows, and double-page spreads of Little Monkey’s vertical descent and Papa’s horizontal flights perfectly convey the drama and energy of jungle life. Exaggerated close-ups of Little Monkey’s face capture her range of emotions, from exuberant joy as she rides on Papa’s back to paralyzing terror as she faces the unknown.

Exciting jungle high jinks starring one adorable little monkey and her protective Papa. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62979-100-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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