Certainly an ode to dog lovers, the conclusion may leave readers perplexed.



A boy wonders what his dog dreams about.

A little white boy introduces readers to his dog, Scooter, whom the boy knows well. He knows what make Scooter’s tail wag: treats, people food, squeaky toys, and his dog friends—all labeled on one double-page spread. The things that make Scooter growl are similarly presented. The little boy continues chronicling what he knows about Scooter: words Scooter knows, when Scooter’s thirsty, and when he’s scared, etc., but the one thing the little boy doesn’t know is what Scooter dreams about. This seems natural to wonder about, but the answer that satisfies the little boy—him—feels a little forced, as is the sudden appearance of the character (his grandfather, who’s fishing) who provides it. With most characters (both child and adult) referenced only in the text, and the backgrounds up until the end of the book either basic washes or generic places (home, school, etc.) it seems especially odd to see an adult engaged in a very specific activity. Additionally, the proffered answer seems arbitrary. Perhaps best known for his illustrations of the Mr. Putter and Tabby and Gooseberry Park series, Howard’s human characters’ stylized faces make the dogs stand out as both expressive and delightful, while the hand-lettered text and child narration complement each other.

Certainly an ode to dog lovers, the conclusion may leave readers perplexed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5838-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


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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