All told, a nice-enough dog story better suited to social media than the posterity of print.

READ REVIEW

DOG ON BOARD

THE TRUE STORY OF ECLIPSE, THE BUS-RIDING DOG

The title and subtitle say it all.

Endowed with her own blue bus pass, a sweet black Lab mix named Eclipse is used to traveling on the bus with her owner to the local dog park. One day, when her owner fails to keep up with her, she goes to the park herself, getting off at the correct stop. After that, Eclipse rapidly becomes a local bus-riding celebrity, her solo jaunts inspiring the local news to cover her travels (and, eventually, this book). Readers waiting for the moment when Eclipse’s story becomes more than just a cute pet segment on a local television station are in for a disappointment. Though Patent and Young keep Eclipse’s voice upbeat and happy (and in the first person), there’s little to be gleaned from her tale. Some mention is made of famous Seattle landmarks near the book’s end, but those details feel superfluous. An offhanded mention in a note from Patent and Muñoz to the fact that Eclipse is a service dog (never mentioned in the story nor made clear in photographs) marks a missed opportunity to educate above and beyond Eclipse’s propensity for public transit. A note from Young and list of resources round out the volume.

All told, a nice-enough dog story better suited to social media than the posterity of print. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-54988-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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 must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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