Those who love pigs, pirates, and planets are sure to be pleased.


Persuasive pig Rufus Leroy Williams III shatters the porcine glass ceiling—or in this case atmosphere—yet again in his third outing.

Ever since mastering literacy in Rufus Goes to School (2013), the titular pig has used his skills to find adventure. After convincing Capt. Wibblyshins to let him join a pirate crew in Rufus Goes to Sea (2015), his pirate mateys demand fresh new tales—but Rufus is all out! In search of stories, Rufus is determined to go boldly where no pig has gone before: Mars. There’s only one problem: Cmdr. Luna (a black woman) believes that pigs aren’t made of “the right stuff” because they are bound to “do loop-the-loops in the crew cabin” and “hog the juice packets.” Despite Luna’s bias, Rufus isn’t deterred: he’s been rejected before, but that’s never stopped him. After a few tries, he gets lucky: the Mars mission will be cancelled unless they can find someone to read a book on Mars, via livestream, to children around the world. Lucky for them, Rufus is the pig for the job! Quiet pen-and-ink illustrations show the pink pig in his element as he tumbles about, carrying his oversized books with him. While some readers new to Rufus may be puzzled at his jump from golden age piracy to futuristic space travel, fans of Rufus will be glad to see him triumph and will look forward to seeing where his next adventure will take him.

Those who love pigs, pirates, and planets are sure to be pleased. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2099-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.


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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