This funny story offers a fresh approach to accepting each individual’s unique personality.

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MY STINKY DOG

In this French import, a little boy narrates a story about his dog, Alfred, who has a great personality but a significant odor issue.

Faithful companion Alfred is always there to cheer up his owner. The huge dog has short, brown fur, an oval body, and an unusual, white nose reminiscent of a cheese grater. Alfred hasn’t had a bath in some time, if ever, and he smells so bad that he attracts flies. The little boy effects change by scrubbing Alfred clean, but then the dog evinces a personality change, tiptoeing around in a raincoat and boots so he doesn’t get dirty again. The boy gets down in the mud with Alfred to reinstate the dog’s distinctive stench, and order is restored as boy and dog float off on a cloud of odiferous fumes, heading for a new home together. Delightfully imaginative illustrations in a loose, cartoon style use white backgrounds and vibrant swirls of color to indicate Alfred’s odors. One hilarious double-page spread shows Alfred in profile as a sort of scent map, with each stinky area identified and each smell indicated by a symbolic key. The unnamed narrator has brown hair, pink cheeks, and white skin. (His face is a line drawing using the white space of the backgrounds.)

This funny story offers a fresh approach to accepting each individual’s unique personality. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2823-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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