The combination of a perky, naughty dog and lots of dirt and mud will appeal to kids who like a story of an adventurous pooch

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A DOG NAMED DOUG

A large, golden-brown dog named Doug spends all his time and energy digging huge holes and extensive tunnels, with some surprising results.

The rollicking, rhyming text details all Doug’s digging with lots of wordplay with the dog’s name and the words “dig” and “dug.” At first Doug’s tunnels in his backyard are fairly realistic, but soon his frantic digging moves into more fantastical feats, as he has a burrowing contest with a squirrel, excavates a tunnel into an old gold mine, and bores his way to the White House lawn. Following a tour, Doug burrows back down through the floor of the Oval Office, surprising the president, a woman of color. His excavation efforts take him around the world, meeting people of different ethnicities and skin tones, with one spread appearing to be upside down as Doug digs all the way to China. Bold illustrations in acrylic and oil paints incorporate some of the text into the art, with individual letters or words serving as some of the underground tunnels. A concluding spread shows Doug’s rather nightmarish dream about digging his way into another planet, where some strange, otherworldly creatures greet him. While Doug’s adventures are spirited and amusing, the frenetic energy is a bit strained, and the repeated refrain of “oh boy, did Doug DIG!” wears thin by the time Doug tunnels his way into his owners’ bed for his dream sequence.

The combination of a perky, naughty dog and lots of dirt and mud will appeal to kids who like a story of an adventurous pooch . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4931-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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