While this book doesn’t do anything new, it’s a shoo-in for lovers of dogs and humor: funny and charming.

READ REVIEW

THE PERFECT DOG

A white child in a dress and a bow lectures readers about how to pick the perfect dog.

Portraits of different breeds of adorable dogs are the first (and last) things readers encounter in this ode to canines. The story begins as the young narrator tells readers that the family is about to get a dog, and of course, it should be perfect. Thus begins a pattern—“The perfect dog should be big... / bigger... // biggest! / Maybe not this big”—that continues throughout the book, substituting different adjectives and dog breeds to illustrate them: in this case, a chow chow, a German shepherd, a Saint Bernard, and a Great Dane, respectively. Use of various typefaces and fonts will help readers grasp the meanings of the adjectives and adds dramatic flair. Along with the varying dog breeds, the changes in adjectives are accompanied by changes in the narrator’s outfits. Playful chaos ensues in many spreads, adding humor to the general charm of the pooches. A page turn between the three escalating adjectives and the follow-up “maybe not” sentence would have added playful anticipation, but the pacing still generally works. By limiting backgrounds to two colors, O’Malley keeps the focus on the characters—and boy, are they full of character. The dogs are the true stars of this book, each with an immediately evident personality, though they’re all lovable. Sweetly, the perfect dog turns out to be the one who chooses the narrator.

While this book doesn’t do anything new, it’s a shoo-in for lovers of dogs and humor: funny and charming. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-93441-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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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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