See this book fly off the shelves.

SEE THE DOG

THREE STORIES ABOUT A CAT

A cat takes a sick dog’s place as the protagonist of three silly stories.

In the same vein as predecessor See the Cat (2020), LaRochelle and Wohnoutka’s latest collaboration plays out as a running argument between narrator and animal character. When the verso text reads “See the dog,” a blue cat appears on the recto. The cat declares via speech bubble that they’ve been asked to take the dog’s place because he is sick. At first, the cat revels in the make-believe—with a few slip-ups. But the narrator’s asks are met with resistance when the cat’s comfort zone is crossed. In Story Number One, the cat listens to the “bossy book” and digs—albeit using an excavator. The narrator abruptly interrupts the cat’s fun with a “See the dog STOP digging holes!” In Story Number Two, the cat begrudgingly jumps into the lake (which is really more of a pond) and immediately yells for help. Story Number Three puts the cat in charge of protecting a sheep from a wolf. The playful rebellion against the repetitive Dick-and-Jane pattern makes for nonstop, rip-roaring fun. Using around 130 words and their variants, the careful yet deliciously over-the-top writing keeps the text accessible yet engaging. Wohnoutka’s full-color cartoon illustrations hilariously accentuate the cat’s histrionics. While most illustrations appear solely on the recto, a few well-placed double-page spreads add some delightful surprises.

See this book fly off the shelves. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1629-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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