This silly tale of two cats of two colors finding both self and joint happiness may well provoke conversations.

A TALE OF TWO CATS

Who is handsomer, the white cat or the black cat?

In a waterfront vacation spot with outdoor cafes for tourists as the setting, two cats appear who are good friends. The black cat is “black as tar,” while the white cat is “white as whitewash.” Each then claims to be the better-looking one, resulting in a petty quarrel and a parting of the ways. But then each cat is filled with doubt. Maybe the disputed claims are correct and the other cat is truly more handsome. The cats then come up with a solution to the quandary, the white cat immersing itself in tar while the black cat whitewashes itself. This is in no way a resolution, of course, and it’s achieved with the obvious difficulties of maintaining the new colorations. Back to their original states they go, sharing a rekindling of their camaraderie over drinks and a resounding “Meow!” The story, translated into rhyming couplets from Hebrew, is told in cartoon panels with line drawings and people presenting in shades of white, orange, and blue. Readers may be left with questions. Is this simply an entertaining story about irksome quarreling, or is there a deeper issue that can be applied to humankind? The cats are mute on that.

This silly tale of two cats of two colors finding both self and joint happiness may well provoke conversations. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68396-266-3

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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