Endearing and inviting.  (Picture book. 2-6)

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I'LL SAVE YOU BOBO!

Earl the cat is back—hurray!

Willy, the young narrator of I Must Have Bobo! (2011) here puts down the book he’s reading in order to create a more exciting story himself, while his sock monkey Bobo serves as audience for his crayon drawings and narrative about a jungle adventure. Earl, the cat who also loves Bobo, provides the action in this drama. The (mostly) unruffled feline antagonist does not deliberately interrupt the crayon story but manages to do so just the same in his determination to carry out his own mission: acquiring Bobo. And without Earl, there would be little tension in this simple story. He creeps over the back of the armchair, only to be casually rebuffed by the hero; he reacts, all his fur on end, to the part in the imaginary narrative where a large snake eats the cat; he climbs atop the “tent” Willy assembles with a couple of chairs and a sheet. The cartoon illustrations create a kind of spotlight for the story: boy, drawing table and crayons, armchair, Bobo and cat. Earl, with his small gray body and round eyes remains both steadfastly catlike and slyly, charmingly funny: a constant companion for Willy, even as Bobo is a more favored and predictable one. Both help to circumscribe a childhood in which adventure is appealingly tolerable and safe.

Endearing and inviting.  (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-037-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve

HEDGEHUGS

How do you hug if you’re a hedgehog?

Horace and Hattie are best friends who like to spend time together making daisy chains, splashing in puddles, and having tea parties. But they are OK doing things on their own, too: Hattie dances in the bluebells, while Horace searches the woods for spiders. But no matter what they do, together or apart, there’s one thing that they’ve found impossible: hugging. Each season, they try something new that will enable them to cushion their spines and snuggle up. Snow hugs are too cold, hollow-log hugs are too bumpy, strawberry hugs are too sticky, and autumn-leaf hugs are too scratchy. But a chance encounter with some laundry drying on a line may hold the answer to their problem—as well as to the universal mystery of lost socks. Tapper’s illustrations are a mix of what appears to be digital elements and photographed textures from scraps of baby clothes. While the latter provide pleasing textures, the hedgehogs are rendered digitally. Though cute, they are rather stiff and, well, spiky. Also, the typeface choice unfortunately makes the D in “hedgehug” look like a fancy lowercase A, especially to those still working on their reading skills.

It’s sweet, but it thematically (and eponymously) replicates Dan Pinto and Benn Sutton’s Hedgehug (2011)—with much less verve . (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62779-404-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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