Hope for more soon from debut author/illustrator Kung.

NO FUZZBALL!

This feline queen knows how to care for her subjects—as long as they worship her by shouting her name.

NoFuzzball lives in total harmony with the subjects in her queendom. They see to her every need and shower her with presents. When she sees a new gift, a perfect queen-sized bed (which readers might recognize as an open suitcase), she plunks herself in it until they chant her name: “NoFuzzball!” But then they leave?! The nerve! Well, that gives the queen a chance for some alone time. When she wakes, they’re still not home! She wallows in sadness for a moment before she decides to be a gracious ruler. She makes them new beds, thoughtfully destroying the furniture for extra fluff. She brings them gifts of lovely dead mousies. She redecorates the whole of the queendom. When they return, her subjects greet her at the door shouting “Fuzzball!” Have they forgotten her name? No. Once they see the work she’s done…they remember, appropriately acclaiming her “NoFuzzball!” The fluffy black kitty gives preschool readers an early lesson in the unreliable narrator as she describes her relationship with her humans. In Kung’s illustrations, she’s an expressive, endearing little chunk of well-meaning evil. Her interracial human family is just as expressive, and the bright spot and full-bleed illustrations are entertaining from the first endpaper to the last.

Hope for more soon from debut author/illustrator Kung. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56542-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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