A fine title to add, not swap, to the new-baby shelf.

THE BABY SWAP

Inspired by her mother’s shopping trip to exchange a hat, Caroline Crocodile tries to swap her baby brother, only to discover that he’s just right, after all.

Jealousy is the culprit in Caroline’s dissatisfaction with her new sibling. She seethes as Mama Crocodile enthuses, “He is as green as a grub, and his eyes are as yellow as egg yolks.” Matters worsen as Mama continues to lavish praise on her hatchling, and when Caroline is left in charge while Mama pops into the millinery, she spies “The Baby Shop.” Pictures reveal the store as one that sells baby clothing, furniture and accoutrements, but Caroline misinterprets its sales mission and heads inside to swap her drooling baby brother. A compassionate—and extremely resourceful—sales-goat somehow comes up with a series of other babies (a panda cub, twin tigers, a baby giraffe, a piglet and even an elephant’s child), but each is somehow problematic. Ormerod and Joyner infuse humor into the mishaps with each baby, which helps mitigate the hole in the story’s logic: Just where do these trial babies come from? Caroline ultimately reunites with her “just right” baby brother and happily accepts her returning mother’s oblivious praise. Joyner’s comic illustrations add much to the story’s success with their expressive, detailed and engaging approach.

A fine title to add, not swap, to the new-baby shelf. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1914-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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