Readers will find themselves with their noses to the pages to observe and enjoy the stylistic variation.

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REMY AND LULU

Behind every great painter there’s a great painter who’s a dog.

Remy the portrait painter “snort[s], grumbl[es] and attack[s] the canvas with brushes full of dripping paint.” He portrays “the essence of a person, not their likeness.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, his works aren’t popular, and he goes hungry—until Lulu comes along. She’s a small, neat dog in a top hat who paints a portrait of the subject’s pet in a low corner of each of Remy’s canvases. Patrons exclaim “Such detail!” and “Such color!” and “What a likeness!”—but they are referring to Lulu’s tiny animal portraits. Remy rises to fame. But one subject—an optometrist—gives Remy new spectacles, and suddenly he sees the truth. Lulu’s been so modest that weak-sighted Remy had no idea Lulu was contributing to the art. Woe to Remy’s dignity! “They rode home in silence,” and Remy’s palette dries out from disuse. The touching way they return to painting honors different artistic styles, though the whole premise also gently mocks Remy’s poor eyesight. Funnier is the understated text about demure Lulu: “ ‘I…paint from here,’ Remy said, tapping his chest. ‘Isn’t that right, Lulu?’ Lulu sniffed a potted plant.” Hawkes’ illustrations—full-bleed, framed or vignette—have a robust, painterly quality, while Lulu’s miniatures by Harrison are so precise and fancy they’re almost delightfully fussy.

Readers will find themselves with their noses to the pages to observe and enjoy the stylistic variation. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-449-81085-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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