An endearing, visually rib-tickling ode to best friends.

READ REVIEW

OLLIE AND AUGUSTUS

As Ollie starts school, he worries his dog, Augustus, will miss him.

Even though Ollie’s “small—like a pickling jar or a shoebox,” and Augustus is “big—like a fridge or a table,” these best friends do “most things together.” Ollie’s favorite activity is digging while Augustus likes stick collecting. Sometimes they annoy and irritate each other, but if they get mad, they make up in time for lunch. Poised to start school, Ollie fears Augustus will be lonely and advertises for a friend for Augustus, emphasizing everything Augustus likes to do. Next day, canine candidates line up to interview for the position. After a series of disappointing play dates, none of the applicants understand Augustus’ “favorite things,” nor does he understand theirs. Although Ollie spends the first day of school sad and worrying about Augustus, he’s in for a surprise. Delicate earth-toned illustrations rely on fine, sketchy outlines, pale color highlights, and all-white backgrounds to humorously flesh out the spare text. Fragile, diminutive Ollie appears an unlikely match for his massive canine buddy, but amusing vignettes reveal these pals engrossed in painting, bike riding, people watching, dressing up, tree climbing, and, of course, digging and stick collecting.

An endearing, visually rib-tickling ode to best friends. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0967-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more