A fresh and charming narrative reminiscent of the tall-tale storytelling tradition with illustrations that are its ideal...

RALPH, FLYING HOUND

Ralph, an intrepid dog in Williams Harbour, Labrador, has an adventure with a helicopter.

Paddon’s lively yarn, which he insists is true, nonetheless has tall-tale potential not just in its subject matter, but also in its delivery, which has a rhyming, singsong cadence reminiscent of ages-old oral storytelling. Rhyming narratives can be tricky to pull off—often falling into the cutesy crevasse—but this one is freshly exuberant and absolutely needs to be read aloud for full effect. Greg, a white helicopter bush pilot, hates landing in Williams Harbour because a pack of dogs—Ralph, Spot 1, Spot 2, Lucky, and Nance—all jump around the chopper, and Greg is fearful they will damage it. One day, seeing his chance, Greg uses the chopper to herd four of the dogs off a small 10-foot cliff into the sea (where they safely swim to shore). But where is Ralph, the fifth dog? Ah, where indeed—this is the crux of the story. Kolano’s crisp illustrations capture the spareness of the isolated Canadian town in both her sophisticated use of a limited palette of blues, blacks, and orange and in her angular, clean style, which gives the story a needed visual edge to balance the ebullient curviness of the narrative rhyme.

A fresh and charming narrative reminiscent of the tall-tale storytelling tradition with illustrations that are its ideal complement. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927917-08-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running the Goat

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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