An exuberant update on the theme of cats in hats.

READ REVIEW

HATS ARE NOT FOR CATS!

Who should wear hats? Dogs or cats?

A cat wearing a fez is admonished by a dog in a top hat: “Hats are not for cats.” The dog goes on to catalog the types of hats that just don’t work for cats: “Not hats that are festive or hats that are fun. / Not hats for the cold or hats for the sun. / Not hats that are fussy or hats that are frilly. / Not hats that are serious… / or hats that are silly!” Heedless, the cat keeps trying on different hats as it bounces through the pages, but every fashion choice is nixed by the hound. After the exhaustive list—capped by an enormous, spread-dominating eruption of “HATS ARE NOT FOR CATS!”—the gray puss begs to differ…and brings a parade of hat-wearing cats by to prove that hats are for everyone (including turtles, ducks, and canaries). Rayner’s inclusive celebration of chapeaux is a delightful debut. The big, shaggy dog and fluffy puss speak in color-coded dialogue balloons, providing all the text of the tale. The scribbly, smudgy figures appear to be done in watercolor and charcoal and are placed on expansive white space. Although they speak, show emotion, and wear hats, they are not otherwise anthropomorphic, and the sight of these four-legged critters in the various hats amps the silliness.

An exuberant update on the theme of cats in hats. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-96719-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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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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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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