Fits the bill for readers whose own best buds have been lost to school.


From the Puppy and Bear series

Exuberant Puppy and bored Bear meet one day under the gnarled oak, and from then on, they are the best of friends. But will school put an end to their friendship?

Catch, chase, hide-and-seek, ear-flapping bike rides, plank-walking pirate adventures, and splashes in the creek—this duo does it all over the course of a marvelous summer. But then one morning Bear doesn’t come to the oak to play. When he finally does appear, he’s wearing a backpack and rushing so he won’t be late for the first day of school. Poor Puppy obviously does not understand, watching mournfully as Bear dashes through the gate, sadly following Bear’s play with other animal friends at lunchtime, and missing his friend when he finally is released from school. Puppy tries to play all their favorite games by himself, but it’s just not any fun. Bear finds him that afternoon, sadly curled up under the oak, and the two clear up the misunderstanding and enjoy after-school afternoons filled with best-friend romps. And next fall, it will be Puppy’s turn to go to school. Bendall-Brunello’s Puppy and Bear have marvelously expressive faces, and their play certainly looks like fun in the watercolor-and–colored pencil illustrations. Bear is fully anthropomorphic, wearing clothes and walking on his hind feet, while Puppy is not, which makes for a relationship that might be difficult for readers to decode.

Fits the bill for readers whose own best buds have been lost to school. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5096-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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