Demure yet mildly impish; when Prudence’s eyes “get hot and tingly” at the end, it’s for the best reason of all. (Picture...

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PRUDENCE WANTS A PET

A classic theme feels fresh as a squiggling kitten.

Prudence pines for a pet and adopts anything handy. Will a tree branch do? A twig? A tire? Daly’s matter-of-fact text is amusing but never mocking: “Prudence puts out a bowl of water for Branch. So far Branch has not been thirsty.” But “Branch is an outdoor pet…. Branch tripped Dad…. / Dad broke Branch into little bits and put them on the woodpile.” Other endeavors are equally short-lived. Pet Twig “ran away in the rinse cycle”; Prudence “frees” a pet shoe in the junkyard. (Narration toggles between past and present tense.) When “sea buddies” that “come in a package and are dry like Kool-Aid” fail to come alive, it’s the last emotional straw: “Prudence goes to live in the closet for the rest of the day.” Her crushing disappointment touches her parents, who kindly—despite qualms—take the only final step that could satisfy. With a touch of Quentin Blake flavor, King draws his animated figures in black line, washing selected bits in color. Eyes are sometimes dots, sometimes googly (sometimes one of each!). The book’s shape is a horizontal rectangle; adults are too tall for their faces to show, underscoring its orientation firmly in a child's emotions.

Demure yet mildly impish; when Prudence’s eyes “get hot and tingly” at the end, it’s for the best reason of all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-59643-468-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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