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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An unabashed love letter from mother.


From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers.


Animal parents declare their love for their offspring through rhymed puns and sentimental art.

The title sets the scene for what’s to come: The owl asks the owlet as they fly together, “WHOO loves you?”; the kangaroo and joey make each other “very HOPPY”; and the lioness and cub are a “PURRRFECT pair.” Most of the puns are both unimaginative and groanworthy, and they are likely to go over the heads of toddlers, who are not know for their wordplay abilities. The text is set in abcb quatrains split over two double-page spreads. On each spread, one couplet appears on the verso within a lightly decorated border on pastel pages. On the recto, a full-bleed portrait of the animal and baby appears in softly colored and cozy images. Hearts are prominent on every page, floating between the parent and baby as if it is necessary to show the love between each pair. Although these critters are depicted in mistily conceived natural habitats and are unclothed, they are human stand-ins through and through.

The greeting-card art and jokey rhymes work for the baby-shower market but not for the youngest readers. (Board book. 6 mos-2)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1374-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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