Will delight kids and caregivers alike.



A kinetic catalog of canine activities.

Photographer Davidson specializes in expressive, irresistible pet portraiture, a subject with natural appeal to the board-book audience. Over 20 pages, nine different dogs illustrate nine vocabulary words and phrases describing pet locomotion and play. The dogs model familiar actions over double-page spreads, set against clean, white backgrounds. Multiple images convey a sense of motion. Isis, a French bulldog, strides determinedly across one page, then the next. “Walk” is spelled out in a streaky type that suggests the speed of her gait. When mixed-breed Archie goes airborne, the “m” in the word “jump” gets air as well. Two drops of slobber drip from the word “lick,” as Duke, a long-tongued pit bull, works on a couple of those hard-to-reach spots on his muzzle. A dotted line indicating a curlicue trajectory accompanies shots of a mutt named Ziggy, on his back, on his side, and then righted; the text, “roll over” follows suit, with the second word inverted at the midpoint of the roll. His trick completed, Ziggy stares up as if to ask, “Did you get all that?” Other terms depicted are “wag,” “fetch,” “chew,” “sit,” and “shake.” The final two pages identify the cast by name and breed. A companion volume, Heads & Tails, replicates this formula with equal charm.

Will delight kids and caregivers alike. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5136-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

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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