Books by Patrick McDonnell

Released: Sept. 5, 2017

"Give this book an F, yes, an F: for fun and funny. (Picture book. 4-7)"
This (mostly) wordless book opens with the titular little red cat running out of his house toward an alligator with open jaws, and a chase begins. Read full book review >
SHINE! by Patrick McDonnell
Released: April 4, 2017

"There's no place like home, even underwater, though the eventual happiness here seems more dictated than organic. (Picture book. 2-5)"
A sea creature yearns to live in the sky. Read full book review >
TEK by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"The outing may earn a few clicks from hand-wringing parents; young digerati will roll their eyes and go back to texting. (Picture book. 6-8)"
McDonnell has a bone to pick with a young Stone Age gamer who won't leave the family cave. Read full book review >
SILLY WONDERFUL YOU by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"It's sweet, but it lacks the freshness that would make it stand out. (Picture book. 2-4) "
A mother's rhymes enumerate the many, varied (sometimes bewildering, sometimes beatific) ways her toddler tot has altered her life. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Small listeners will nestle deep under their covers feeling thankful for tender books that make bedtime a pleasure. (Picture book. 2-5)"
Clement, Jean, and Alan Alexander (a small rabbit, miniature elephant, and a pint-sized bear) enjoy a proper pajama party—complete with chicken dances, funny faces, balloon bounces, midnight snacks, stargazing, and lullabies. Read full book review >
THE SKUNK by Mac Barnett
Released: April 14, 2015

"Peculiar, perplexing, and persistent—training wheels for Samuel Beckett. (Picture book. 6-10)"
When is a skunk not a skunk? When it's a…skunk. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 7, 2014

"A playful, funny and friendly treatment of anxiety and life's unpredictable messes. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Here's an existential dilemma: What if you were a character in a book, and sandwich fillings fell onto your page from above? Read full book review >
THE MONSTERS' MONSTER by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"Make time to share with young monsters everywhere. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Tiny Grouch, Grump and Gloom 'n' Doom (who has two heads) continually bicker about who is the most impressive monster. When the solution they come up with turns out to be different from what they expected, a surprising but welcome lesson is eventually learned. Read full book review >
ME...JANE by Patrick McDonnell
Released: April 5, 2011

Little Jane Goodall and Jubilee (her toy chimpanzee) ramble outside their English country home observing everyday animal miracles and dreaming of a life in Africa, "living with, / and helping, / all animals." Readers familiar with the groundbreaking primatologist will love seeing her as a conventional, buttoned-up child, wearing a plaid skirt, classic bob and hair clip as she squats in a coop to watch a chicken drop an egg. McDonnell's simple ink-and-watercolor illustrations appear as sunny, amorphous panels in ample white space. Purposeful black lines provide specificity with small suggestive strokes—a tiny apostrophic smile relays Jane's complete contentment sprawled in grass. Opposite pages offer groupings of faint, intricate stamps that correspond with young Jane's early outdoor experiences and engage readers with their fine details. The playful interplay among stamps, cartoonish drawings and real photographs of Jane reminds readers of a child's hodgepodge journal—one like Jane's, which appears as a double-page spread showing her animal studies, charts, games and doodles. Children will appreciate McDonnell's original format and take heart that interests logged in their own diaries might turn into lifelong passions. Backmatter includes a pithy biography, additional photographs and a letter and drawing from Jane herself—children will thrill at the connection. (Picture book/biography. 2-10)Read full book review >
WAG! by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

Mooch, a cat of many personalities and curiosities, and his very best friend, Earl, a philosophical and kindly Jack Russell terrier, present many answers to the ancient question: "What makes Earl's tail wag?" In an interactive dialogue, readers of the personable (animalable?) characters can follow the many actions and objects that cause Earl to FWIP-FWIP-FWIP his tail. It wags when playing ball, for food, his human, Ozzie, snowflakes, belly rubs and much more. Above all, "Love is the answer" to the eternal question, as Earl and Mooch demonstrate with an embrace. Sweet, gentle, delightful—all illustrated in line drawings and washes that show exactly what's needed and no more. McDonnell's simple pictures demonstrate humor, personality and keen insight into the world of the small tail-waggers, and the artist as author clearly knows the joys in the small, sweet beings' universe. Although intended for the very young, older humans—and maybe even a cat or two—will understand. Many woofs and FWIPs for this charming book. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
SOUTH by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

A flock of small, yellow birds sitting in a tree takes flight. The last leaf falls and startles a sleeping bird on the ground below, who looks up to see his flock is gone. Mutts comic-strip character and occasional picture-book star Mooch the cat happens by and explains the flock flew south. The bird has a cry, and Mooch decides to lend a paw. They trek through the neighborhood, the city and a forest as the snows begin to fall. Mooch stops for a snooze, but the distraught bird breaks into tears again. They set off once more and shortly find the flock on a wire. Everyone's happy…but Mooch and his new friend must part. This wordless tale of good-Samaritanism and friendship plays out in simple, softly colored watercolors on heavy beige stock, with just enough background sketched in to provide a sense of setting without overwhelming the emotional drama taking place. McDonnell's sense of just-sweet-enough is exactly right, leaving readers feeling as if they are curled on the carpet next to the fire with Mooch. Warm and glowy. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
HUG TIME by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

Jules (aka Shtinky Puddin') finally gets his own picture-book platform to preach his environmentally friendly, endangered-species-loving message. In the pale colors of a Mutts Sunday comic strip, Jules the orange kitten sets out with a mission: to hug the whole world. "He hugged his best friends, Mooch, Noodles, and Earl, / A butterfly, buttercups, a little gray squirrel." He works his way around the globe hugging chimps, pandas and wombats until he finds himself alone at the North Pole. After accepting an offered hug from a passing polar bear, Jules hurries home to hug the one he loves best: Doozy. Fans of the first two picture books featuring the Mutts crew will find this no less charming, though the message here is a bit more heavily laid on. The illustrations are the greatest strength here; and, like its predecessors, this would be a fine gift or story-time choice. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
JUST LIKE HEAVEN by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Following his Art (April 2006), cartoonist McDonnell returns to his Mutts characters to tackle another weighty topic with just the right touch. As Mooch the cat falls asleep under his favorite tree, a fog rolls in. When he awakes, he decides he must be in heaven: He smells sweet perfume (wildflowers covered by fog) and hears children's laughter (kids playing in the park, obscured by the fog). He even comes upon a big angry dog, who would usually send him running in fear, but Mooch gives him a hug and the two part as friends. Mooch ends up at his favorite tree and falls back asleep. The fog clears and he wakes up. His best friend Earl the dog is asleep next to him; the sun shines on the neighborhood. Mooch thinks it's a great place, just like heaven. Perfect for storytime for small groups or one in a lap or as a gift to your favorite curmudgeon, this gentle lesson should find a place in most collections. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
ART by Patrick McDonnell
Released: April 1, 2006

Art's art moves and explodes. There are splatters, squiggles and curls, zigs, zags and doodles and loads of color. After all that energetic creativity, Art "flops in a heap / and among his creations / he falls fast asleep." When he awakens, his drawings are on the refrigerator, placed there by his mother because she loves Art. McDonnell's minimalist rhyming text flies across the pages in large bold block letters. Even the youngest reader can discern the basic pun, and more sophisticated readers will enjoy finding deeper variations. It is both a slight tale of a creative child and a glimpse into the nature of art. The primary color illustrations are exuberant and joyful and seamlessly match the text. Art runs from page to page with paintbrush or colored pencil, drawing as he goes, paying direct homage to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Harold now has a perfect companion in Art. Sheer delight. (Picture book. All ages)Read full book review >
THE GIFT OF NOTHING by Patrick McDonnell
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Fresh from the comic-strip panels of Mutts, Mooch the cat doesn't know what to get his best friend Earl the dog on a certain "special day." Earl has everything: dish, chewy toy and a bed. Then inspiration strikes. "Nothing" is the perfect gift for someone with everything . . . but where to find it? Mooch has heard his people say there's "nothing" on TV—but something's always on. He hears there's "nothing" at the stores—but there's plenty of everything. After a moment of Kitty Zen, Mooch wraps up a big empty box and presents it to Earl. " ‘There's nothing here,' said Earl. / ‘Yesh!' said Mooch. ‘Nothing . . . / but me and you.' " And the two of them enjoy nothing—and everything—together. A perfect meditation on gift giving and friendship, this is a great present for the Type-A hoarder in your life. It will do double duty as a conversation starter for older kids at storytime. (Picture book. 5+)Read full book review >