This closely follows an earlier adventure, Piglet Bo Can Do Anything (2015), which may explain the abruptness of both...

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PIGLET BO IS NOT SCARED!

In this Belgian import, a porcine hero faces his fears and (sort of) triumphs over them.

Piglet Bo, a simply drawn, anthropomorphic pig, proudly proclaims that he “is not scared” of various venues, animals, and activities. From a mouse (which is fortuitously routed by a passing cat) through an empty room, a deep hole, a stand of stinging nettles, and a roller coaster, Piglet Bo finds ways to avoid entirely or, at the least, minimize each potentially frightening experience. The first-person, stream-of-consciousness text uses repetition to convey the (not so) hidden truth that he is, indeed, quite afraid after all. While this is no doubt a familiar feeling for many small children (and some adults), the overlong and occasionally awkward narration is more likely to distance listeners than to draw them in. The mixed-media illustrations may also be somewhat off-putting, as Piglet Bo appears to be transparent at times (the colors of the setting showing through his outline, in whole or in part), and varying depictions of a wild dog or wolf lurk menacingly in many of the compositions.

This closely follows an earlier adventure, Piglet Bo Can Do Anything (2015), which may explain the abruptness of both opening and closing; fans of his first outing may enjoy seeing him again so soon, but those meeting him for the first time may be unimpressed. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63450-182-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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