Books by Tracy Dockray

HAVE NO FEAR! by Nicole C. Kear
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 16, 2017

"Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more. (Fiction. 4-8)"
Seven-year-old Veronica teams up with friends to help solve classmate Maya's problem, launching a series. Read full book review >
IZZY & OSCAR by Allison Estes
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 7, 2015

"A grand addition to any pet-themed read-aloud session. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Pirate captain Izzy finds a treasure of a pet in an octopus. Read full book review >
SWEET BABY FEET by Margaret O'Hair
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"Step on by this one—similar, better books abound. (Picture book. 6 mos.-3)"
So sweet it just might make your teeth hurt, though there's not much to chew on. Read full book review >
JAMMY DANCE by Rebecca Janni
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 14, 2012

"With the glut of sleepy-time stories out there, this offering does not bring much new to the bedside table. (Picture book. 1-4)"
Going to bed doesn't rank high on most children's lists of favorite activities, and Janni and Dockray's attempt to transform the nighttime routine into a rollicking good time is something of a snooze. Read full book review >
THE LOST AND FOUND PONY by Tracy Dockray
ANIMALS
Released: July 19, 2011

"You can only say, 'Oh, the poor pony!' so many times. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A small pony recounts his melodramatic life. Read full book review >
THE BAREFOOTED, BAD-TEMPERED BABY BRIGADE by Deborah Diesen
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 23, 2010

An inexplicably mobilized horde of babies marches—or rather, crawls, pedals and toddles—to Town Hall, with an articulate message that pulls no punches: "We won't get our hair cut. / We won't wear our suncaps. / We won't play with smart toys / to skip us a grade. / We won't like the doctor. / We won't take our naps. / We're a barefooted bad-tempered baby brigade!" Diesen's verse careers along without a tumble, but its winks and nods play strictly to adults and—unsurprisingly—capitulates to them in the end: "But now that we're done / and our point has been made… / Would you hold us, / And snuggle, / And sing us a song?" Dockray's Photoshopped pictures, hip yet strangely soulless, evoke Nancy Carpenter's illustrations for Jenny Offill's 17 Things I'm Not Allowed To Do Anymore (2007). The notion of babies protesting their lot—a one-off, one-trick pony—will elude preschoolers and, possibly, irritate adults with a working knowledge of bona fide historical protest. Slick, with a hollow core—the opposite of babies. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
THE TUSHY BOOK by Fran Manushkin
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2009

Using bouncy rhyme, Manushkin pays tribute to the virtues of the tush. Both animals and humans have them. Even the king and queen have tushies. Some are firm and some are droopy. It's a fun word to say, but it also cushions you during a fall. It's a place to put your underwear and something to somersault over your head. Dockray's colorful line drawings illustrate with realism and humor all the activities of the tushy, from sledding to skating to dancing. The artist's use of white space leaves the pages uncluttered, letting the detail shine through. As the author states, we all have tushies, but readers will also all have smiles after finishing this book. Having finished it once, however, they're unlikely to pick it up again; as one-joke butt books go, this pales in comparison to such derriere-licious treatments as Chicken Cheeks, by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (2009). (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
MY BUNNY DIARY by Tracy Dockray
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

This sneak peek into Dora Cottontail's diary reveals exactly how losing her best friend to a doll-playing rival makes her feel. Written in her own slanting hand with crayons and the requisite #2 pencil, Dora's diary is complete with stickers, photographs, and even the actual note that Dora intercepts as it is passed from "icky" Babbette to her friend, Ally. Together Dora and Ally have amazing adventures. Their scooters are wild horses, which they use to sprint across the playground, and together they must finish putting together a puzzle before it explodes and blows up the world. Things seem to change when Dora finds Ally with a doll. After giving Ally an ultimatum to choose between her and Babbette, Dora finds herself alone. She attempts to play her usual imagination games and finds herself frustrated and jealous. Someone else seems interested in this playground drama: Dora's classmate Rose. Rose soon joins Dora in her fun, and Ally, bored with playing dolls, comes back to help them save the world. While the story is not new, the art is worth noting since the diary side so realistically captures the look of a young writer's journal—words crossed out, little descriptive drawings, varying type sizes, and highlights in crayon or splashes of paint. Young readers will be clamoring for a diary of their own after reading this bunny's story. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
AM I BIG OR LITTLE? by Margaret Park Bridges
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

A wry look at the unique dichotomy that is part and parcel of early childhood, this playful tale examines that nebulous time period when children are alternately big enough to do some things while too small to do others. Following the same successful format of her earlier titles, Bridges (If I Were Your Father, 1999, etc.) sets up the book as a dialogue between parent and child. A little girl wonders how she can be both big and little. In the ensuing whimsical exchange, mother and daughter explore the myriad ways in which the cherubic tot is both large and small. Their voices are distinct, with the mother affectionately describing all the reasons her daughter is still little while the child exuberantly proclaims her newfound abilities. "You're little enough to ride piggyback to the stairs." "But I'm big enough to hop all the way down." Many of the examples illuminate the tiny accomplishments that herald a child's fledgling independence; from serving her "guests" first at a tea party to patiently waiting for dessert. Lest readers think the young girl is becoming too sedate, she gleefully revels in childish pleasures, reaching out from beneath her bed to tickle her mother's ankles and dressing her cat up like an infant. Dockray's watercolors adeptly capture the exuberance of childhood. Her energetic drawings feature a doe-eyed child, with a mass of fiery-colored, corkscrew curls rioting about her head, cheerfully scampering about. Unabashedly sentimental, this cozy tale is ideal for lap sharing. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
RAMONA THE BRAVE by Tracy Dockray
illustrated by Tracy Dockray, by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Alan Tiegreen
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 26, 1975

After a year of kindergarten with Miss Binney who even made the Q in Ramona Quimby look like a kitty cat, Ramona finds it hard to adjust to a drab first grade teacher committed to reading circles and number combinations and avoiding waste. ("Class, when we waste paste," says Mrs. Griggs as the children work on their paper bag owls, "and then pound our eyes down with our fists, our eyes skid.") When Susan copies Ramona's owl, Ramona scrunches Susan's right in class and Mrs. Griggs makes her apologize in public; Ramona's misery deepens but she determines to be her father's "spunky gal" and stick it out, and at last her efforts to please bring about a little flexibility on the teacher's part. Again Beverly Cleary takes us right inside Ramona's head where screaming "Guts!" in a fury is perceived as a desperate action (and her parents' amusement over the "bad word" deeply humiliating) but the behavior that gets her into trouble at school is totally innocent and reasonable. Amusing, sound, empathic. . . as always. Read full book review >
RUNAWAY RALPH by Louis Darling
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1970

The return of The Mouse and the Motorcycle is a departure—from the wide-open corridors of Mountain View Inn to a cage that's also a vantage point in a typical summer camp; but tipping the balance from fantasy to personality doesn't throw freedom rider Ralph. At least not for long. Caught in a generation gap between his timid, crumb-scrounging elders and a horde of little cousins clamoring to ride his shiny red motorcycle, he takes off—speeded by the new force of gravity—for Happy Acres Camp. But watchdog Sam and smug Catso have other ideas, and Ralph's not sorry when new-camper Garf's butterfly net makes him a permanent exhibit in the craft cabin (though the girls' itsy-bitsy, teeny-tiny squeals are a little hard to take). Spinning full circle on his exercise wheel is "as dangerous and exciting as riding a motorcycle" until golden (his emphasis) hamster Chum grumpily reminds him that he's not going anywhere. Then Ralph pins his hopes on Garf, a boy who might understand that Pb-pb-b-b-b-b is the way to make a toy motorcycle go. in the wacky, camp-wise, anything-but-mousie wind-up, he turns the tables on Catso, clears loner Garf of the theft of a watch, and earns his return. . . to the now-valued vistas of Mountain View Inn. The irresistible drawings—of Ralph bent over the breakaway bike, of Catso toying with him to impress his offspring, of Ralph curled up in a Dacron sleeping bag—attest to the rightness, and the sadness, of Mrs. Cleary's dedication (To Louis Darling, 1916-1970). Happily, Ralph will be tearing along in his ping-pong ball crash helmet for a long time, on the elusive trail of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and boys who go Pb-pb-b-b-b. Read full book review >