A serious accident leads to a lesson in perseverance for a terrier named Lucky and his human companion in Inglis’ uplifting children’s book. 

  The story begins with a lonely man who decides one day to adopt a dog. After considering which type of dog would best suit him, he settles on an energetic terrier pup that he names Lucky. The man takes Lucky on walks through the park and teaches him tricks, like how to roll over. The two quickly become best friends, and their happiness is apparent in the bright illustrations by Kinsey. But the illustration’s vivid green, blue and purple hues give way to gray when Lucky suddenly runs out into the street and is hit by a car. The man brings Lucky to an animal hospital where a doctor is able to save his life. But in order for him to live, the doctor must amputate one of Lucky’s legs. Afterward, the man tells Lucky, “I love you just as much as ever.” He reteaches Lucky all of the tricks he used to know, and before long they resume their old lives, happily going for walks in the park. Though the message is clear—with a little hard work and determination, we can all overcome obstacles—it comes through in the telling of the story rather than through showing. Readers are told that Lucky works hard, but the illustrations imply that his road to recovery is quick and easy. Even the very young readers that the book is aimed toward could benefit from seeing the new challenges facing Lucky after his accident and how he works to overcome them. Still, the message is an important one, and Inglis does a fine job of showing that happiness is possible even after the most serious of accidents. Lucky and the man (who remains nameless throughout the story) also demonstrate the importance of friendship and the power of unconditional love. Young readers will find the illustrations friendly and amusing. The bright pallet complements the sunny disposition of the main characters, and fun details (like the picture of a mouse on a flag above the animal hospital) invite readers in for a closer look.    A light-hearted tale that will inspire young readers not to give up when the going gets tough.          


Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1463777562

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2011

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Hee haw.

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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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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.


From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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