A wacky and weirdly wise series of scenarios solved with comical kid logic.


From the Reggie series , Vol. 1

A webcomic-turned–graphic novel about a youngster exploring his world.

Reggie, an anthropomorphic penguin living in the suburbs, has all the familiar idiosyncrasies that make young children both charming and baffling. He finds hilariously imperfect—yet ultimately successful—ways to solve kid problems like a too-drippy popsicle (letting it melt into his hat and then slurping up the “grape-sicle soup!”) or the dreaded toddler leash (running around on all fours like a dog makes it a much more fun experience), and his zany energy enlivens a text that treads comfortable ground for young readers. On school picture day, he gives himself an impromptu haircut before trying to glue the snippets back on, setting into motion a cascade of calamity that ends in him donning a cowboy hat atop a glue-y mess. In another story, he collaborates with friends to create a city for roly-polies during recess. When the roly-polies reject their efforts, their teacher suggests that they relocate their construction to better suit the bugs’ chosen habitat, with great success. Reggie’s editorial interludes between stories offer more opportunity to connect with this charming character. A cursory cast of animal folks include a fox, bear, and goat; some readers may be a bit confused when Reggie mimics a dog (do pets exist in this world?). Expressive cartoons in muted primary colors keep the story moving at a steady pace.

A wacky and weirdly wise series of scenarios solved with comical kid logic. (Graphic early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9780759557567

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Little, Brown Ink

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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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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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. 28, 2018

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