Running with wolves is enticing, but coming back home is always a comfort.

READ REVIEW

WIENER WOLF

Wiener Dog is a bored and pampered dachshund itching to break away from his ho-hum life in the lap of his doting owner, an old-fashioned grandmother.

Watching a TV show about howling wolves is the catalyst for Wiener Dog’s transformation from a meek, domesticated dog in a red sweater to his alter ego: Wiener Wolf. The adventurous dachshund hitches a ride to a state park, meets up with a pack of wolves and takes a walk on the wild side as he explores fresh territory with his new furry friends. At first, the smaller dog is intimidated by the wolves, but he loses his sweater and joins the pack, making for a hilarious juxtaposition of the little dog scrambling to keep up with the much larger wolves. The dog loses his nerve as the wolves close in on a fleeing deer, depicted on a white background with loping, snarling wolves and the little dog frozen with a horrified expression. Wiener Wolf reverts back to Wiener Dog, running right out of the illustration and hitching a ride back home to Granny. The dachshund is funny in both movement and expression, and the wild-eyed wolves are suitably scary. Dachshund owners young and old will adore this. The portrayal of Granny is regrettably stereotypical, though.

Running with wolves is enticing, but coming back home is always a comfort. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3983-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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