MISS MOON

WISE WORDS FROM A DOG GOVERNESS

Enchanting for dog lovers.

Twenty succinct bits of advice for living are accompanied by whimsical oil paintings of an English governess and her canine charges.

The book begins with a tongue-in-cheek introduction, advising readers that Miss Wilhelmina Moon, dog governess, is sharing her “most important lessons for raising happy, healthy, well-mannered pooches—and people.” This is followed by 20 attractively laid-out double-page spreads. Most of them feature a one-sentence “lesson” on the verso, framed with wallpaperlike borders, and a humorous painting on the recto; two print the “lesson” on a doily placed over an illustration that stretches entirely across the two pages. A wide variety of dog breeds are accurately portrayed in a post-impressionist style—except for the anthropomorphic details that cannot help but charm viewers. (All the dogs in “Never stop learning” wear glasses, and two carry pens in their mouths.) And what a talent Hill has for that mea culpa doggy look! The fair, red-haired governess—impeccable in her long, white-collared dress—always appears kind, unflappable, and dignified. There is no human diversity here, as Miss Moon is the only person, but her equal poise at roadster-driving and archery along with more-traditional feminine activities provides a strong role model. The “lessons” range from timeworn adages to redundant phrases, but (speaking of timeworn phrases) every picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Enchanting for dog lovers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-10191-793-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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