For children who love their dogs, hate long car rides, and fear the new and different (until they try it), much will be...

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MURPHY IN THE CITY

The multicolored paw prints that cover the endpapers signal the return of Murphy-Stop-That, a small, loud terrier who lives on a farm (A Day in the Life of Murphy, 2003).

When his human family (mom and daughter) goes off to the city (it’s New York), Murphy is not happy to go with them—until he gets there. They meet up with a friend and her dog, a yellow Labrador, and visit many places that Murphy finds he enjoys: a dog-friendly outdoor cafe, a dog park. But at the Doggie Boutique, Murphy runs out through an open door and is scooped up by the dog catcher. He is taken to the shelter, where his family finds him, and they go back home, where Murphy would rather be. The pictures are bright and almost folk art–like in their clear lines, flat colors, and decorative details; the route to the city is made like a board-game map with gardens, churches, factories, and fields laid out on the way. The mom and daughter in Murphy’s family are blonde Caucasians; their friend in the city is dark-skinned and -haired; the denizens of the city are of various ethnicities and, pleasingly, various ages.

For children who love their dogs, hate long car rides, and fear the new and different (until they try it), much will be comforting in this unassuming, appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-1971-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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