A book for emergent readers to befriend.

PIG AND CAT ARE PALS

From the I Like To Read series

Can Pig and Cat’s friendship endure when Dog appears on the scene?

Many early readers include an odd-couple pair of friends whose interactions create the central drama of the plot. Not so in Florian’s latest offering: Pig and Cat enjoy all the same things, and they enjoy doing them together. Rather than presenting a clash due to individual differences, Florian boosts the tension when Pig befriends Dog and leaves Cat in the dust. The text reads, “Cat is all alone. / Cat is sad,” while accompanying crayon-and–colored-pencil illustrations use expressive techniques to isolate Cat and visually convey its sadness. The consciously childlike illustrations succeed in communicating emotion and offer many whimsical details that provide visual interest, but they may prove a bit busy for those working to find and decode the limited, controlled text on the pages, which seems aimed at the very newest of readers. This concern aside, readers of all abilities will grasp the story’s happy ending: although Pig doesn’t prove to be a terribly sensitive or attentive friend, Dog notices Cat’s distress and says, “You can play with us,” ushering in a conclusion in which “Pig and Cat and Dog are pals.”

A book for emergent readers to befriend. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3858-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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 humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence.

A NEW DAY

To the consternation of the other six days of the week, Sunday quits in protest, tired of being unappreciated for her consistent delivery of a weekly “beautiful free day.”

Sunday’s abrupt decision prompts the others to look for her replacement with an advertisement inviting auditions before the remaining six days. The competition quickly grows increasingly fierce as ideas are broached for DogDay, Big-BurpDay, PieDay, Band-AidDay, and, ridiculously, FirepoleSlidingIntoPoolsOfCottonCandyDay. Amid all this boisterous and frenzied rivalry, a little girl approaches the misunderstood Sunday with a small plant to say thank you and to suggest “simply a nice day. A day when people can show more kindness to each other.” The child’s humble gratitude is enough for Sunday to return to her important weekly position and to prompt all the days to value kindness as the key to each day’s possibilities. Bright art captures the mania, with cotton-candy hues representing each of the anthropomorphic days. Though undeniably comical as it unfolds in busy cartoon illustrations and speech balloons, the drawn-out, nonsensical, and unexpected course the narrative takes may be a stretch for youngsters who cannot always distinguish among days. Kindness as the ingredient for achieving a harmonious week is nevertheless a valuable message, however circuitously expressed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55424-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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