A dog-positive story with a misstep or two.

READ REVIEW

HANNAH AND SUGAR

What to do when you’re afraid of dogs?

Every day after school Hannah’s papa meets her at the bus stop. Her friend and neighbor, Violet P., is welcomed by her mom and dog, Sugar. The other kids greet the pooch with a friendly pat, but Hannah, perhaps a kindergartner, steadfastly refuses, glancing at Sugar warily. One day, Violet reports that Sugar’s missing; a neighborhood search fails to uncover her. On a starry night, as Hannah sits outside pondering what being lost feels like, she hears a whimper and investigates. Surprise! It’s Sugar, her leash entangled on a bush. Stifling her instincts to flee, Hannah musters her courage and reaches out a comforting—and rescuing—hand. Sugar, who’s heretofore noticed this timid girl sympathetically, gratefully nuzzles her. This is a sweet tale with a satisfying ending; expressive, childlike paint-and-ink illustrations drive the story well. Though all the human principals are white (or very light-skinned), there is a black family in the neighborhood. Dog lovers will cheer that Hannah has joined their ranks; dog-fearing children may feel emboldened, though it’s unlikely that they’d come to an animal’s aid without first seeking adult help—and arguably they shouldn’t, an important point the story doesn’t make. Another missing point of logic involves the apparent close proximity of Sugar to Hannah’s house: how did no one hear the crying dog sooner?

A dog-positive story with a misstep or two. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1890-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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