A good addition to the loss-of-a-pet bookshelf.



Rosie’s world turns gray when her dog passes away, but friendship and color bloom again when she helps reunite another child with a lost cat.

Crayon the dog fills Rosie’s world with delight. Everything seems brighter, bolder, deeper with her best pal. Together the little dog and brown-complexioned girl (both have tightly curled hair, the dog’s white and the girl’s black) traverse the seasons and their accompanying hues—jumping in leaves, sledding, and camping under a starry sky—until Crayon dies. Spreads become overcast, mirroring Rosie’s emotions, as she closes up her heart. A lost-cat search wakens the puff-pigtailed girl, and upon finding the feline, the child lets herself remember her dog. As colors pour forth, Rosie realizes her “heart didn’t break (like she thought it would). Rather… / …it felt wider—taller—deeper than it had ever felt before.” Digital artwork done in a primary palette explores pattern and texture. And the artist’s simple linework is skillful, offering an appealing character across a range of perspectives, actions, and framings; however, the illustrations often feel like a smartly-filled coloring book. The decision not to use crayon or ink textures matching the pets’ names (Crayon and Inky) seems a missed opportunity. Marcero’s text is the real star, as she delves into a difficult topic with lush descriptions and empathy. Thoughtful endpapers round out the story, as readers are comforted by Rosie’s healing process.

A good addition to the loss-of-a-pet bookshelf. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4413-2287-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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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. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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