With evident affection and sly humor, this paean to a beloved pet perfectly captures this (and thus every) cat’s allure.

MY WILD CAT

An unseen (until the end) narrator describes a beloved cat; snippets of information about feline physiology and behavior are included.

Feline fanciers will be immediately charmed by the unnamed, yellow-eyed black cat who prowls the pages of this French import (and, in one utterly convincing portrait, sprawls atop a radiator in boneless comfort). Brief text describes typical cat activities; humorously contradictory illustrations add to the charm. Pictures of a sleeping cat across two spreads, for example, appear with this sentence: “When he runs // his athletic body propels him.” Declarative sentences employ sometimes-challenging vocabulary, including “vigilant” and “agile and acrobatic.” Occasionally split over two double-page spreads, the straightforward sentences move the book along smoothly despite a longer-than-usual format. Asterisked notes appear at the bottoms of most double-page spreads to provide basic information and some quirky details. Readers may skip them entirely with no negative impact, but they will likely add interest for some young listeners. Simler’s artwork, which has the appearance of drawings created with pastels, has a delightfully scratchy texture and displays an intriguing use of light, particularly in the nighttime scenes. Backgrounds are simply sketched, and abundant white space allows the text to stand out crisply. Bright colors and appealing details create a sense of the comfortable home where the cat and his companion dwell.

With evident affection and sly humor, this paean to a beloved pet perfectly captures this (and thus every) cat’s allure. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5525-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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