A young boy finds out how much work goes into teaching a puppy to stay out of trouble in this debut children’s book.

Trent wants a puppy; his parents make him wait until he is 5, old enough to handle the responsibility of raising a pet “because doggies are a lot of work.” Trent instantly falls in love with an enthusiastic brown and tan dog, which he names Jessie. Trent gives Jessie a pillow for his bed, and even though it’s comfortable, the canine soon grows bored and begins chewing it. It’s the first mess: illustrator McIntosh shows a redheaded, blue-eyed Trent looking at a huge pile of feathers in dismay. “Jessie! You’re sooo messy!” he exclaims. In the endnotes, Normandin, an early childhood educator, points out that this refrain, printed in red instead of brown like the rest of the text, is designed for young readers to chime in—and they surely will. To clean up the mess, Trent shuts Jessie in his parents’ room, where the pup finds a tube of lipstick within reach. Cue the refrain, and an even more frustrated-looking Trent appears on the page. Jessie heads to the kitchen while Trent cleans up, and the animal finds joy. He spies a huge bag of dog food. Preschoolers and other lap readers should see the pattern by this point and giggle as Trent discovers another fiasco—and tries putting the pup in another room. But even the basement turns into a disaster area as untrained Jessie empties his bladder on the floor. When Trent steps in the puddle, young audiences will likely voice the appropriate “Ew!” in response before citing the refrain. Outside, Jessie finds a mud puddle; in the bathtub, he delights in knocking over the shampoo. Like Trent, children are sure to learn in this engaging story that a dog really is a serious responsibility. And while they might empathize with Trent, they’re more likely to laugh at the boy’s misfortunes throughout, especially as his expressions in McIntosh’s colorful cartoonish images become more frantic. This is definitely a humorous way to show the reality of how tough it can be to train a new puppy. This amusing read-aloud tale for a preschool classroom about a mischievous canine should elicit plenty of giggles.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7945-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

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