Frog and friends are a delightful group—entertaining, charming, and funny. Just the sort of friends anyone is glad to have.

FROG AND FRIENDS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING, CHRISTMAS, AND NEW YEAR'S EVE

From the Frog and Friends series

Frog and his animal pals celebrate the winter holidays in this latest in Bunting’s early-reader series.

In the Thanksgiving story, Frog and his regular crew of friends invite a host of additional critters to join them, from crickets to a hippo. Some animals are afraid of being eaten by others, but Frog calms them all down, and they share their dinner in peace. The Christmas story finds Frog and his friends cooperating in decorating a tree and sharing sweet treats. On New Year’s Eve, the animals celebrate with games and a nap under the stars. The stories are quietly entertaining and cleverly humorous with solid plots, subtle lessons, and a cozy sense of community among the group of friends. Bunting’s polished prose is several levels above most early readers, particularly in Frog’s calm leadership and in the understated humor. Charming illustrations are thoughtfully integrated with the text, including lots of spot illustrations as well as some full-page views. Just like the Frog and Toad series, these stories work well as early readers but are also strong enough to succeed as read-alouds for younger children too.

Frog and friends are a delightful group—entertaining, charming, and funny. Just the sort of friends anyone is glad to have. (Early reader. 5-7) 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58536-897-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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