This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest.

DOLLOP AND MRS. FABULOUS

Rabbit sisters with differing interests find a way to enjoy playing together.

Dollop and Lili are wide-eyed, long-eared, anthropomorphic bunnies. Dollop, the younger sister, is “b-o-r-e-d” but perks up when she hears her sister talking in the next room. She dons a ninja costume, creeps across the room (hiding amusingly but not very effectively behind a number of small items), and discovers that Lili is planning a tea party. Initially pleased to be included, Dollop ducks out when she’s admonished for burping and bored by Lili’s idea of “polite conversation.” Lili, aka Mrs. Fabulous, perseveres but finds it’s not much fun to play tea party alone. Her turnabout is not entirely convincing, but it effectively unites the two sisters again. Sattler’s text is a mix of straightforward description of action and emotions, dialogue, and humorously earnest instruction from Lili. She offers variety in her characteristically child-friendly cartoon-style illustrations as well, moving from double-page spreads to single pages and vignettes as the action unfolds. Created in watercolor, pencil, colored pencil, and Photoshop, the bright and cheery pictures keep the focus on the two sisters, their toys, and their clothes. There’s plenty of white space, and most backgrounds are only lightly sketched. Unfortunately, neither text nor pictures make up for the slight and predictable plot.

This gentle look at differences and acceptance might amuse some listeners, but it’s unlikely to inspire lasting interest. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55335-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Hee haw.

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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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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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