Fun; kids should lap this up fur storytime.

CAT PROBLEMS

From the Animal Problems series

Life as a cat can give one paws.

The angst-y feline narrator has quite a tale to tell, grumbling sardonically about how impurr-fect life is as an indoor-only cat; screeching about various daily woes, like “only” getting “nineteen hours of sleep” and why another cat’s sitting where it wants to; and making constant demands (“What does it take to get a little bowl service around here?”) All in all, this furry complainer seems to have a lot to yammer about. “Things would be different if I knew how to open a door,” it grumps. The cat’s whiny, self-centered personality is wittily conveyed, but its wry monologue also elicits sympathy; cat guardians might not consider how frustrating it might be for a pet to be permanently housebound. When the cat bemoans its fate to a squirrel through the window screen, the street-smart rodent offers perspective. Readers who’ve been owned by kitties will laugh knowingly at the protagonist’s shifty mental processes and comical shenanigans. The frenetic illustrations, with a limited palette of mostly browns, tans, and grays, gibe well with the humorous text. Innovative book design enhances the visual appeal, with text placement and white space focusing attention. Numerous spreads are set in panels for quick pacing; many words/phrases are set in various fonts for dramatic effect. Note the frayed ends on some letters in the title on the dust jacket. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fun; kids should lap this up fur storytime. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30213-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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