This fast-paced mystery is a fun addition to this series for new readers.

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KING & KAYLA AND THE CASE OF FOUND FRED

From the King & Kayla series

Smart dog King and his human, Kayla, help a lost dog find his people.

King and Kayla work together to solve mysteries, with King narrating their tales in his distinctive voice. The two are on vacation at Grandma’s house near a lake, and King discovers a new friend in the bushes. King soon learns that Fred lost his humans during the firecrackers “five or one nights ago.” His collar is lost, but Kayla guesses from his behavior that he is not a stray. Since Kayla can’t understand “a word Fred says,” King is the one to collect clues. He learns that Fred’s family is staying at a campground, but he can’t add this to Kayla’s “list of things we know.” He can’t add the campground’s location to Kayla’s “list of things we don’t know.” While Kayla tries to devise a plan, King tries to communicate his—find the campground! The humans don’t understand, but luckily, Kayla asks Grandma if they can ride on the lake and ask other boaters. From the water, Fred sees the campground, and he eagerly jumps, swims, and reunites with his people. Simple, clean, line-drawn and digitally colored illustrations depict happy, lovable animals and a diverse cast of humans. Kayla and Grandma are black, and Fred’s family is brown.

This fast-paced mystery is a fun addition to this series for new readers. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68263-052-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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