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Petey & Wolf

A charming tale of adventure and friendship.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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Petey, a lovable, hardworking donkey, goes for a wild ride in this illustrated debut children’s book.

At the real-life C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, Petey the Sicilian donkey has a pretty good life. He loves everything about his job, which includes celebrating opening day for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, greeting children and giving them cart rides, hanging out with the horses in pasture, carrying packs and tents for campers, and mostly just lazing about on his 8,500-acre home. Petey introduces readers to everything that goes on at the C Lazy U Ranch, from how the guests spend their days at the spa (Petey makes an appearance soaking in a copper tub) to how he helps protect the horses from coyotes that threaten them at pasture. When walking with the horses one day, Petey is swept into a strong river current: how will he stop himself from being carried off and away from C Lazy U Ranch? Craig’s debut is an exciting mix of education and fiction. Petey, who has a pretty busy life for such a docile creature, explains what he does on the ranch and how the whole enterprise runs—a stimulating lesson for kids and adults alike who are intrigued by horses, cowboys, and ranch life. The adventure comes into play when Petey is washed down the river and eventually saved by his pal Wolf. Both parts are enjoyable, but the story would have benefited from both strands getting equal space. As is, the educational section greatly outweighs the misadventure, so the pacing is a bit off. Petey and Wolf’s real-life friendship is heartwarming, and kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the unlikely pairing of a short donkey and a graceful horse. Pendleton’s illustrations are delightful: Petey is one cute donkey, and the images are inspired by the real C Lazy U Ranch in Colorado, about 90 miles outside of Denver. Kids might be eager to book a trip so they can meet the book’s sweet protagonist in person.

A charming tale of adventure and friendship.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-615-96247-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: The C Lazy U Ranch

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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