NOT NOW, MRS. WOLF!

A ravenous wolf and a duckling become an unlikely pair in this humorous tale about best-laid plans that have gone wildly awry. Mrs. Wolf is in the mood for a bite of duck when she discovers a duck’s egg in the road. With eyes on a bigger meal, she discards the notion of scrambled eggs and decides to hatch the duckling instead; perching on the egg until the little guy emerges. Like all hatchlings, the first thing the duck sees becomes imprinted as its mother; in this case it’s a very surprised Mrs. Wolf. The sly wolf concocts a dastardly plan to fatten up the fowl. The ever-building suspense reaches its peak when the now plump Funny Feet asks the fateful question, “What’s for dinner?” “ ‘Guess!’ said Mrs. Wolf . . .‘A potato?’ asked Funny Feet. ‘ No fatter and juicier,’ said Mrs. Wolf, reaching for Funny Feet.” However, the joke’s on the readers as the clever duckling races out to retrieve a juicy watermelon from the garden for their evening meal. Older children will appreciate the wry humor of the food-oriented pet names Mrs. Wolf bestows on Funny Feet, such as “my little sugar puff” and “my little muffin.” Young’s cartoon-style illustrations are free from any menacing overtones. Mrs. Wolf, stylishly attired in a green cardigan and a homey, blue-checked apron, is as harmless-looking as an exuberant puppy. The sunlit watercolors depicting cozy pastoral scenes portray the ever-increasing size of Funny Feet and the growing affection between Mrs. Wolf and her protégé. Humorous touches in the illustrations, like the delectably devious thoughts of Mrs. Wolf, comically captured in thought-clouds suspended overhead, will keep readers howling. The book also includes suggestions for read-aloud sessions and extension activities for parents and caregivers to enrich the child’s reading experience. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7894-6355-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

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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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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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