A gently humorous dog story that will be especially appealing to owners of black Labs.

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LAZYBONES

A black Lab with a shy nature learns to enjoy going on walks and meeting new canine companions.

The dog is inexplicably named Robert Exelby Perdendo, but he is called Lazybones because he doesn’t like going outside. The appealing dog narrates the story, describing how he teaches his owner tricks such as rolling over and passing out dog treats. When it’s time for “walkies,” Lazybones hides or pretends to be asleep, as he prefers to stay inside. (Some sharp kids are sure to ask where Lazybones goes potty if he doesn’t go outside. The question goes unanswered.) On one reluctant walk, Lazybones meets a pug named Arthur, leading to a game of hide-and-seek with other dogs and making new friends. In a clever conclusion, the dog’s owner begins to hide because Lazybones now wants to go on so many walks. The simple but humorous story is told in just a few sentences set in large type, with additional dialogue set off in large speech balloons. Linoleum-print illustrations use abundant white space or fresh, grass green with pleasantly scratchy textures. Spunky Lazybones is a charming character, with expressive eyes and a shy smile. The simple but satisfying story will appeal to younger preschoolers just beginning to enjoy real stories with a funny plot as well as older preschoolers and emergent readers.

A gently humorous dog story that will be especially appealing to owners of black Labs. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4402-0

Page Count: 37

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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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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