Even bath-happy readers will want to hear this book.

READ REVIEW

OTIS P. OLIVER PROTESTS

To bathe or not to bathe? To Otis P. Oliver, that’s definitely not the question.

Otis P.’s peeved: The dog bathes once a month; he is forced to take four baths a week. How to show he’s serious about avoiding bathtime? Otis dons his dad’s suit and tie, delivers a rousing speech to bath-disgusted pals, and marches the unwashed bunch to his lawn, picket signs aloft. Notes passed between protester and mom, expressing Otis’s tub aversion (and, parenthetically, his dinner concerns) and mom’s responses—with put-upon sisters and dog acting as go-betweens—eventually effect a satisfactory compromise. In the end, though, Otis P. shows he has one more card to lay on the negotiation table. This comical tale about achieving one’s aims creatively should strike a resounding chord with kids, particularly those who aren’t on speaking terms with bathtubs themselves. Children will giggle at Otis’ tactics and back-and-forth correspondence. The expressive illustrations are humorous, energetic, and incorporate the hand-written notes, shown transcribed on pieces torn from lined notebook paper. Otis is white, chubby, and crowned with brown curls; wavy lines suggest he reeks. His family presents with various tones of pale skin and different hair colors and styles; one sister wears glasses. The skin colors, sizes, and hairstyles of Otis’ chums are diverse.

Even bath-happy readers will want to hear this book. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-53411-043-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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