A sweet and funny animal story for newly independent readers.


A guinea pig becomes a doctor’s helper in this picture book.

In this tale from the team of Benishek and Cline (What’s at the End of Your Nose?, 2017), a fluffy, brown guinea pig called George lives with the family of a physician with the same first name. Dr. George still makes house calls. Because his patients phone him at home, the guinea pig believes the calls are actually for him and that he’s the real doctor. Dr. George, who is forgetful, always misplaces his medical bag, which his family finds and puts on the floor near the coat tree. The guinea pig crawls in the bag to travel with the physician for his house calls. But when the animal falls out of the bag, he’s not sure what to do. With bandages stuck to his fur, he travels to the nearest house—one of the stops on the doctor’s list—and the guinea pig, through the encouragement of the patient he helps, becomes the physician’s official assistant. Although the animal experiences a moment of fear when he tumbles out of the bag, his peril is never too great, and sensitive young readers should enjoy his slightly smarter-than-a-real-guinea-pig behavior as well as the doctor’s confusion at his sudden appearance. Cline’s illustrations in colored pencil skillfully blend realism with whimsy for the guinea pig—the only character shown—and are so vivid that children will feel they can reach out and pet him. Benishek’s charming, text-dense story offers only a few challenging vocabulary words (for example, “ointments”).

A sweet and funny animal story for newly independent readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5428-1852-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.


From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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