DOG AND BEAR

TWO FRIENDS, THREE STORIES

A stuffed bear and an ebullient dachshund, best of friends, are introduced to beginning readers in three sweet chapters. In “Bear in the Chair,” Dog encourages a frightened Bear to come down and play, eventually finding an inventive use for his long, slippery back; in “Play with Me! Play with Me!” Bear does his best to concentrate on his book while Dog pesters him mercilessly; and in “Dog Changes His Name,” Dog tries on identity after inappropriate identity, until Bear helps him to the very best solution possible. Seeger moves from the concept book she has become known for to the classic friendship book with ease, her just-right dialogue developing her characters swiftly and cleanly. The two friends parade across a white background, rendered in quick, bold lines and bright colors. Full-page illustrations, which often employ startling perspectives, alternate with small panels to advance the stories, each of which forms a satisfying whole and simultaneously relates to the others within the larger framework of the book. The larger-than-usual trim size ensures a happy crossover between early readers and read-alouds—a great gift for both audiences. (Picture book/early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-59643-053-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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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ROOM ON THE BROOM

Each time the witch loses something in the windy weather, she and her cat are introduced to a new friend who loves flying on her broom. The fluid rhyming and smooth rhythm work together with one repetitive plot element focusing young attention spans until the plot quickens. (“Is there room on the broom for a blank such as me?”) When the witch’s broom breaks, she is thrown in to danger and the plot flies to the finish. Her friends—cat, dog, frog, and bird—are not likely to scare the dragon who plans on eating the witch, but together they form a formidable, gooey, scary-sounding monster. The use of full-page or even page-and-a-half spreads for many of the illustrations will ensure its successful use in story times as well as individual readings. The wart-nosed witch and her passengers make magic that is sure to please. Effective use of brilliant colors set against well-conceived backgrounds detail the story without need for text—but with it, the story—and the broom—take off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8037-2557-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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