A DOG NAMED DOUG

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

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 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE SLEIGH!

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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