Readers may find themselves scratching their heads.

TEDDY THE DOG

(ALMOST) BEST IN SHOW

Teddy the dog decides to compete in a dog show.

Teddy thinks very highly of himself (“I’ve always been a dashing dog”), so he knows he’ll be a natural in the Strut Your Mutt dog show. He fills out the entry form and prepares to travel. While the art accurately reflects what the text tells, it does little to move the action forward or tell a story the text does not. Teddy doesn’t want to travel with luggage via plane (sad animals in crates make for a teachable moment about the inhumane treatment of animals in planes), instead taking the ChauFUR Express. Sneider incorporates some clever jokes into his illustrations, some apparently aimed more at adults than children: “Weight? A dog never tells!” reads Teddy’s completed entry form. Upon arrival, the sunglasses-sporting Teddy is lauded by all, though why he deserves their attention is never entirely clear. Strangely, Teddy—who usually displays human tendencies—is suddenly all dog, jumping on the judge…and getting disqualified. The book ends with a moral: “we’re all best in our own show.” This story seems unsure of its purpose—the moral implies it’s a morality tale, but it seems entirely undeserved. Teddy’s always had confidence; had his lack of special talents been an issue earlier, it may have made more sense.

Readers may find themselves scratching their heads. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-238284-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 23

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more