A perfect read aloud that will leave them begging for more—an absolute delight.

READ REVIEW

GASTON

From the Gaston and Friends series

Gaston, an adorable pup, lives with his loving and proper poodle pack, until an outing reveals there’s more to family than meets the eye.

Mrs. Poodle treasures her new puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La and Gaston (say them aloud, and there will be giggles!). Four white pups, so attentive and sweet. But upon second viewing, it’s clear not all are the same. Gaston—the one with the eager-to-please smile—is, well, different. His sisters are naturals at etiquette, while he is comical in his efforts. When a park visit establishes that puppies were mixed at birth, Gaston heads home with the bulldogs, while his counterpart, Antoinette, takes her place with the poodles. But it’s clear the two truly belong with their adoptive families. Once returned to the families who nurtured them, all feels and looks right as the dogs celebrate with joy. Now fast friends, the families meet and play; much later, when Gaston and Antoinette fall in love, the two allow their brood—who are a delightful mix of their parents—to be whatever they want to be. Robinson’s brilliantly designed acrylic paintings, done in an earth-tone palette, beautifully enhance DiPucchio’s clever and witty text. His simple, graphic style, reminiscent of M. Sasek, is full of energy and sophistication, and the interplay among type, text and compositions leads to humorous results. Gaston will win hearts, as will his story’s message of belonging and family.

A perfect read aloud that will leave them begging for more—an absolute delight. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-5102-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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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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