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 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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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