A keen introduction to a way of being in the world.

KAMIK JOINS THE PACK

The fundamentals of dog sledding emerge in this story of two youngsters, one a boy and the other a dog, eager to join the team and run.

Jake is a young Inuk living in Nunavut, in the Canadian north, with his dog, Kamik; such can be surmised by his calling his grandparents ataatasiaq and anaanatsiaq and the fact that there is an awful lot of snow on the ground, just right for mushing, a strong Inuit tradition. One morning Jake brings Kamik—the word for “sealskin boot” in Inuit; Baker’s story is captivating enough to make non-Inuit readers want to look these things up—to his master-musher uncle’s house to show him off. Jake’s uncle is a serious musher and is pleased with Kamik. “Smart, hard-working dogs are the best dogs. Being a good musher takes a lot of work.” He tells Jake about the things he will need to know: how to rebraid ropes and harnesses, build sleds and a doghouse, and, not least, “Dogs rely on us to keep them healthy.” Jake is a bit overwhelmed when he realizes his ignorance. But his uncle claps him on the back. “You can learn alongside your dogs.” It is one of those life lessons that need but a few words: we all must learn, we will all make mistakes, perseverance is key—neatly delivered, making learning fun rather than drudgery. Leng’s artwork sets the story in its element, with its spare landscape and close community.

A keen introduction to a way of being in the world. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77227-125-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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