SMELLY BILL

Bill is a wily, scraggly, snaggle-toothed mongrel who absolutely loves icky smells. He adores perfuming himself by immersion in all manner of garbage and gunk. After catching a whiff of his reek, his family is fond of telling him, “You stink!” They try myriad ways to get him clean, but Bill is like Houdini when it comes to escape. Until, that is, the day Great Aunt Bleach arrives. She loves all things clean and with a resounding “Tally-ho,” she scrubs the house “from tip to toe.” When she becomes aware of the odoriferous canine, she makes it her personal duty to eliminate the nasty smell. “Bleach twittered, ‘Come on doggie-woo / It’s bathie-wathie time for you!’ ” She lures and wrangles, but the beast gives her the slip over and over again. After great feats and amazing antics, Bleach prevails. Or is it she who gets the short end of the stick? The illustrations are robust with squiggly characters and awash in watercolors. Reminiscent of Mrs. Wishy-Washy, but with far more delightful rhymes, this is truly tail-wagging fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-7358-2135-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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