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SEE THE GHOST

THREE STORIES ABOUT THINGS YOU CANNOT SEE

From the See the Cat series

See the star? Buy the book.

Big laughs from this early reader.

Broken into three stories, LaRochelle’s accessible text will inspire confidence and giggles in new readers. Wohnoutka’s gouache, comics-inspired illustrations use speech balloons to ratchet up the humor while providing context cues to support emerging decoding skills and ample white space for resting the eyes. Ironic counterpoint between art and text is an immediate source of comedy as readers are told to “See the ghost” on Page 1 of the first story, while speech-balloon text on the facing page reads, “Boo!” and points to an invisible speaker. Sight unseen, the ghost scares a yellow dog (“Yikes!” it cries) and a blue cat (“It’s a ghost! Help! Help! Save me!”), whom readers may recognize from the creators’ See the Cat (2020) and See the Dog (2021). The ghost is then confused when another “Boo!” fails to frighten some flowers. When another invisible character shows up in the second story, “See the Wind,” blustery gusts cause havoc in new humorous situations with the cat and dog. A fairy arrives in the third tale, exclaiming in her speech balloon, “Hi! My name is Trixie! I am so small that you cannot even see me. Hee-hee!” She’s mischievous, too, and her tricks prompt strong reactions from the dog, cat, and even the wind. Trixie makes amends by gifting the cat and dog new kites, which they fly in the wind as they “spend the afternoon together.”

See the star? Buy the book. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781536219821

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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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. 28, 2018

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

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 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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