The silly scenario and pro–books-and-reading message accentuate the appeal.


A little boy asks, “Daddy, why do you always read me Mother Goose before bed?” The question prompts a zany tale from Daddy’s boyhood.

Young Daddy finds a live duck in the fridge. Then three in the bathroom. Then more! The unruly critters steal his pajamas, eat all the crackers and order out for pizza. Calling 1-800-DUCK-B-GONE for something to scare the ducks away—once, twice and thrice—Daddy receives delivery of two sheep (who are hairy, not scary), three dogs and, lastly, one purportedly “scary” herd of cows. In each case, the delivered animals merely add to the chaos—bonding with each other via television, card games and a wild party. Overhearing party chitchat, boy Daddy gets an idea. Maybe he doesn’t need to scare the animals off to get them to cooperate. He begins to read “The Old Woman in the Shoe” and immediately captivates his listeners. “Hey, Diddle Diddle” goes down just as well. Young Daddy thus finds a solution for that difficult transition for preschoolers, from full-bore activity to bedtime—one that comes in handy with his own child, years later. Mack’s digitally rendered, cartoonish pictures are characterized by grainy colors, soft-edged brown contour lines and occasional flowery motifs for textiles. Hmm, whatever did happen to all those animals, anyway? A visual joke on the last double-page spread supplies the laugh-out-loud payoff.

The silly scenario and pro–books-and-reading message accentuate the appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4776-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “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 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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