A clever lesson in manners wrapped in an imaginative, tongue-in-cheek tale of father/dog–daughter bonding.

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PET DAD

A little girl who desperately wants a pet and a dad who most definitely does not find some common ground.

Plum is a little girl who never takes no for an answer. So when her dad says no to a pet, she gets herself a pet dad. With dad’s tie as a leash, Plum struts out with her new pet, but when she tries to train “Schnitzel,” she runs into some snags. “Roll over” is met with a “No.” He doesn’t want to eat yard waste (which she thinks is pretty close to his kale and quinoa), and he does his business reading the paper, not on it. At the park, Plum’s efforts are further thwarted until some “free time” (a timeout) leads her to the answer: Her pet needs a reward. And what do pet dads like? “No + Hug = Yes!” “And from that day forward, Plum and her pet enjoy many years of friendship and love.” Allen’s pen-and-ink illustrations with digital color use a palette of dusky blue, orange, and lime green to marvelous effect. Plum is a light-brown–skinned girl with black, scribbly hair barely contained in two braids. Her determination is writ large in her every posture and facial expression. Her dad has pale skin and a shock of white hair.

A clever lesson in manners wrapped in an imaginative, tongue-in-cheek tale of father/dog–daughter bonding. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42826-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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