A fine and restful “nothing.” (Picture book. 2-7)

MY LAZY CAT

Fat cat Boomer shows the way to a perfect day.

“This is Boomer. / Mom found him on our front porch one day, / fast asleep and spread out like a pancake.” When Boomer, who looks like a fuzzy brown pear with short, stubby legs, is brought inside, he wastes no time in becoming the young, white narrator’s best friend. He has fantastic purrs and gives “the best hugs,” but he’s also “a slug, / a sloth, / a slacker.” The narrator, on the other hand, keeps busy with judo, swimming, yoga, painting, pottery, knitting, soccer, and baking…until on the way out the door, Boomer snoozing on the carpet occasions a mammoth fall. Things go flying all over the room. Tears threaten, but they become laughter, and then Boomer shows the narrator his day: lounging on the grass under a pine tree, watching fish and frogs in the pond, eating tomatoes and berries in the garden, and napping under the cherry tree. When Mom and Dad ask what she did all day, the answer is a simple “Nothing.” But the narrator’s smile says it was a perfect day. French author/illustrator Roussey, co-creator of the Growing Hearts series with Jo Witek (In My Room, 2017, etc.), presents a portrait of a friendship and a celebration of slowing down. Her goofy, bright illustrations are childlike in their simplicity but full of details to search through during a quiet read.

A fine and restful “nothing.” (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2602-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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