A poignant tale tenderly executed in both illustrations and words.

MY DOG MOUSE

A white child takes an old dog for a walk in this Swedish import (by way of New Zealand).

This graceful picture book by author/illustrator Lindström catches at the heart in small ways as the unnamed narrator relates a quiet story of taking Mouse, an old, fat dog with “ears as thin as pancakes,” for a walk. Mouse is not the narrator’s dog, so first the child goes to Mouse’s owner’s house and asks to walk him, and “I’m always allowed.” Lindström’s double-page spreads feature backgrounds in soft, frescolike colors that enhance the winsome small figures of the child and dog (and the dog’s expressions are delightful). No marked adventures occur; the child and dog walk very slowly to the park, Mouse eats his (and the child’s) lunch while the child “look[s] carefully at a particular cloud.” On the way back, it gets windy, and “we seem to be standing still but I think we’re moving”—the wry, gentle narrative voice leads readers along as if it’s walking the old dog. When the child delivers Mouse back to his owner, heartstrings are gently tugged. “I wish Mouse was mine,” states the child, who walks away bravely, while Mouse’s snout in the window on the final page echoes the child’s longing.

A poignant tale tenderly executed in both illustrations and words. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-7765-7148-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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