New readers will be happy to yap along with this pup. How about a sequel? (Picture book/early reader. 3-7)

PUG

From the I Like To Read series

“Yap yap yap” has never been so expressive or so insistent.

Pug wants to go out, but it's snowing and no one wants to walk the dog. Using just 11 one-syllable words, Long tells a complete story that is familiar to any dog owner. The sentences follow a predictable, subject-verb-object pattern. The longest sentence is just four words long (“Pug wants to go”). The few words are repeated often, making this a confidence builder for the youngest beginning readers. Pug exudes energy, beginning on the frontmatter display of nine digitally manipulated images of this dog, which has the characteristic tightly curled tail and broad, flat, wrinkled muzzle of the breed. Young children will quickly chime in on Pug’s “yap yap yap” refrain, which dominates the pages. Charming and clutter-free illustrations match the brief text and add information for picture readers to glean. The humans—Dad, Mom, and Tad—are equally easy to read. On the final page the pugnacious pet's persistence wins out. When Pug finally catches up to Peg, both dogs and owners look shyly pleased to be walking together. Tad is white, while Peg's owner is curly-haired and brown-skinned. Perhaps a friendship is blooming.

New readers will be happy to yap along with this pup. How about a sequel? (Picture book/early reader. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3645-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

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 sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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