The stylish illustrations and sly wit on display here will please Gall’s fans and likely win him new ones.

READ REVIEW

DOG VS. CAT

Traditional adversaries are (eventually) united by a common enemy.

In the beginning, Dog and Cat are friends. Selected separately by Mr. and Mrs. Button, they make the best of being forced to share a room. Soon enough, though, differing interests, styles and behaviors lead them to sabotage each other in the hope of becoming an only pet. Full-page pictures, double-page spreads and smaller vignettes, all created with colored pencil and enhanced with a Wacom drawing tablet, reveal the extremely anthropomorphic lives of these entertaining animals. Brown, blocky Dog has a recliner, a bed, lots of sports equipment and plenty of snacks. Sleek black Cat, by contrast, has sharp suits, lots of books and what appears to be a chemistry set. Some details, like the finned car that carries Dog home and the black-and-white photos that cover the endpapers, have a retro vibe that suits the text’s deadpan humor. Dog and Cat, meanwhile, manage to convey emotions clearly with just the quirk of an eyebrow or a sideways glare. What drives these two sibling stand-ins to bury the hatchet won’t surprise many readers, but their solution suits the overall silliness to a T and will likely lead at least some listeners to long for their own special place.

The stylish illustrations and sly wit on display here will please Gall’s fans and likely win him new ones. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-23801-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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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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