Not much by way of text, but the high-appeal photographs and downright cuteness of the dogs make this entertaining overall.



Photographs of dogs accompany descriptions of their actions, moods, and appearance.

This board book reads like a coffee-table book of dog portraits for babies and toddlers. Each page features another gorgeous photograph of an adorable dog with a short descriptor: “spotted dog,” “dirty dog,” and “shy dog,” to name a few. The photographs truly stand out, as the dog itself is shown against either a distance-dappled natural background or a starkly contrasting color without any other images or distractions. Readers won’t be able to help but grin right back at the contagious smile of “happy dog” or the little furball that is “fluffy dog.” While by and large the photographs do accurately depict the text, the character descriptions could be confusing for the intended audience of young readers. For example, the “curious dog,” despite its cocked head, appears sad, with droopy jowls and sorrowful eyes. The “shy dog” could equally be interpreted as feeling blue. The companion board book Cats & Dogs features the same gorgeous, “aww”-inducing photography with similar short descriptors. While there isn’t much difference in the cat-and-dog relationships featured on the “silly friends” and “happy friends” pages, the unbelievably adorable kitten and puppy on “tiny friends” certainly make up for it.

Not much by way of text, but the high-appeal photographs and downright cuteness of the dogs make this entertaining overall. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1581-7

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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