Loopy but fun.

READ REVIEW

COWBOY PUG

From the Adventures of Pug series

Captain Pug (2017) found he wasn’t the best sailor. Maybe he’ll have more luck as a cowboy!

Young Lady Miranda is out in the garden at No. 10. The Crescent with her pug dog, Pug, and her stick horse, Pony, chasing away bandits (pigeons) when Pony suffers an injury (his stick breaks). Running Footman Will and Running Footman Liam and Wendy the housekeeper come to help. Lady Miranda decides she needs a new horse, and Running Footman Will and Running Footman Liam carry her in the sedan chair to do some horse trading. At the stable they meet Frank, a “real-life cowboy,” the magic-trick–obsessed son of the stable owner. Lady Miranda and Cowboy Pug test-ride Horsey, Frank’s old horse, and find themselves in the back of Frank’s father’s trailer headed for the Little Witherington County Fair. Frank and the Running Footmen set off in pursuit…but their pursuit catches the attention of Maud, a new police officer on patrol. When real-life cattle rustlers get involved and a runaway bull rampages through the fair, whatever will happen? James’ second chapter-book adventure starring Pug is another fun read, juxtaposing highly unlikely elements (livery-clad footman and a sedan chair!) against a modern English setting. Ceulemans’ three-color, cartoon line drawings of the little lady and her lazy pug reveal that the primary cast is white, though the England they inhabit is realistically diverse.

Loopy but fun. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-824-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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