Froggy returns for another minor adventure in his well-documented life with this 23rd outing.

This time, Froggy wants to get a dog. His mother reluctantly agrees to the idea of a pet, though she thinks a dog would be too messy. After breakfast, Froggy, his mother and baby sister Pollywogilina set off together for the animal shelter, where they examine different kinds of pets. His mother suggests a bunny, white mice or even a baby alligator. But Froggy craves a canine companion, and he falls in love with a gray dog with “sweet chocolate brown eyes” that even his mother finds irresistible. They take the dog home, and as Froggy learns how to care for Doggy, he discovers that supervising a bouncy dog is not as easy as he first thought. The text is not particularly funny, offering a couple of stale setups with a pooper-scooper, as well as an episode in which Doggy drags out Mom’s pink underpants in front of Froggy’s friend Frogilina. Cheery illustrations in watercolor and pencil do their best to add to the humor with amusing expressions on the characters’ faces and jaunty poses that capture Froggy’s confident personality. Die-hard Froggy fans may enjoy his latest small adventure, but this doesn’t offer anything new in the crowded let’s-get-a-dog pack. (Picture book. 3-7)


Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-01428-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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