Readers may find themselves scratching their heads.

READ REVIEW

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

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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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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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