Plenty of appeal for pets and the small people who love them.


Best friends do everything together…right?

“Mr. Fluffernutter and I are best friends. // We love spending time together / doing all of our favorite things.” A light-skinned girl with two puffy, pompom ponytails and her Siamese cat, Mr. Fluffernutter, draw pictures (he bats at the crayons) and chase butterflies. The tea party that follows seems less to Mr. Fluffernutter’s liking (perhaps it’s the hat). He doesn’t look to be enjoying swinging or swimming either. His little girl just doesn’t understand why he would walk away from playing baby in the pram (he’s wearing a bonnet, of course). Seems he’d rather watch the goldfish swim (which she finds boring). His stinky choice of lunch and insistence on lengthy bouts of yarn play make the girl question their friendship. Maybe they’ll have fun alone—but they don’t, a fact made plain in both expression and body language in a double-page spread of vignettes. They find they really do enjoy doing everything together—but sometimes they “just do it a little differently.” Olson applies the same sweetly dry humor to feline-human relations that she did to ninja bunnies. Her pudgy, watercolor-and-pencil illustrations smartly convey the depth of the bond between these two. Young listeners might not catch Mr. Fluffernutter’s discontent at first glance, but his expressions tell all for the observant tot.

Plenty of appeal for pets and the small people who love them. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-75496-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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