No matter; readers will all be rooting for P. Petunia. (Picture book. 4-8)

READ REVIEW

SCAPEGOAT

THE STORY OF A GOAT NAMED OAT AND A CHEWED-UP COAT

There is nothing quite like giving a goat grief. That is, after all, why they are called goats. And the young protagonist in Hale’s mostly rhymed tale drapes all manner of blame on the horns of the family goat.

"Where is your coat?" Mrs. Choat asks her son, Jimmy when he comes breezing through in his shirtsleeves. The family’s goat, Patsy Petunia Oat, answers for him—“He left it in the park”—but since the Choats didn’t speak Goat, Jimmy blithely says: “My coat? It was eaten by P. Petunia Oat.” He blames everything on her: the lost TV remote, the boogers in the tote, the baby’s broken boat, her own shaved throat. That is until the day neighbor Sproat, who happens to be fluent in Goat, provides Mr. and Mrs. Choat with the goat’s-eye view, and Jimmy sets about eating a little crow. The wordplay here is enjoyable—“On Friday, Baby Choat’s boat would not stay afloat, and Mama asked Jim, ‘Did you break Baby’s blue boat?’ The Choat goat, Patsy P. Oat, raised her head and said, ‘He hit it with a rock’ ”—and there is a neat double comeuppance at the end, though neither approach incandescence. Slack’s Photoshop/collage artwork is attractively involving, edging toward Lane Smith but stopping short of his spidery spookiness.

No matter; readers will all be rooting for P. Petunia. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-59990-468-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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