The final word: there is more than one way to teach a wolf some manners.

READ REVIEW

ARNOLD THE BRAVE

Even a superhero sheep can’t go it alone without a trusty sidekick.

Sheep graze. Occasionally they are sheared for their wool, and occasionally they make a fine meal (especially to big bad wolves). But “As far as Arnold is concerned, any old sheep can graze.” Arnold likes to bang out the pushups and chin-ups and to dance around in circles shadowboxing. “ ‘I am a Super Sheep!’ says Arnold. But that’s not what the other sheep think. They just don’t get Arnold.” But Milo the mole does. He thinks Arnold is grand stuff and helps him with his training. When the wolf inevitably shows, all the sheep run and hide, but Arnold stands his ground (with Milo). Arnold challenges the wolf, feinting and jabbing and looking so ridiculous the wolf starts to laugh. Laughing, the wolf doesn’t notice Milo grab a stray end of Arnold’s sweater and tie it to the wolf’s tail. Round and round Arnold goes, till the wolf finally lunges to discover that his feet are all tangled up in Arnold’s diminished sweater. Down the wolf falls on his noggin, getting knocked silly. Whatever the moral of the story—go your own way; when the going gets tough, the weak get tricky—Arnold is a good and sympathetic character, the whole story drawn together by Renger’s easygoing cartoon illustrations

The final word: there is more than one way to teach a wolf some manners. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4413-2650-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.

LITTLE JOE CHICKAPIG

Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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