Hope for more soon from debut author/illustrator Kung.


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 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 charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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