Nutrition advice geared more toward adults than children.



In this debut picture book, a dog who dislikes a baby’s mushy leftovers discovers that yummy vegetables solve the problem.

Most dogs love scarfing up food that’s dropped on the floor, but not Lucy—not when Billy, the young, pale-skinned grandson of her owner, comes for dinner. Although Billy is adorable, sweet, and plays with Lucy for hours, the food that he drops from his high chair is soggy and sticky, not Lucy’s idea of treats. But what if Billy liked his food so much he finished it all? Lucy goes looking in the backyard for tasty things he might like. The vegetables and fruits, such as Green Zucchini, Bright Blueberry, and Awesome Avocado, explain how delicious and wholesome they are. Lucy brings a sampling for Grandma to cook. Billy eats every bite, making everyone happy. In her book, Machi’s nutritional advice is well-intended, and it’s true that Billy is old enough to be eating solid foods. Still, the tips are puzzling considering that Billy—barely verbal—doesn’t make his own meals. Much of the vocabulary is over a toddler’s head, such as “beta-carotene,” “texture,” and “flavonoids.” While Billy (and Lucy) might enjoy less gooey food, the proper audience for this book seems to be Grandma. In addition, parenting experts suggest that food-throwing is about entertainment, experimenting, or simply being full, so the link to nutrition in solving the problem is a bit tenuous. The uncredited illustrations are colorful but stiff.

Nutrition advice geared more toward adults than children.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 2017


Page Count: 24

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2018

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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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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