A satisfying companion to Won Ton’s eponymous first outing (2011).




Black cat Won Ton’s perfect life with Boy hits a puppy of a hiccup.

“It’s a fine life, Boy. / Nap, play, bathe, nap, eat, repeat. / Practice makes purrfect.” Then toys no cat would be interested in show up, and a mysteriously closed door that was never closed before hides a nasty surprise: a dog! “Puthimoutputhim / outputhimoutputhim—wait! / I said him, not me!” Poor Won Ton. The humans name the puppy Chopstick, but Won Ton guesses his real name is Pest. Rules are laid down and broken. An altercation over Chopstick’s eating Won Ton’s food leads to Won Ton’s banishment outside. Won Ton adjusts, but he secretly enjoys Chopstick’s encounter with a skunk and revels in the superiority of a self-cleaning cat. One stormy day, though, Won Ton finds puppies make fine pillows. “Some parts of woof  I / will never understand. But… / practice makes purrfect.” The two snuggle down with Boy. Wardlaw’s fine feline phrasing in the haiku-related senryu form of Japanese poetry again pairs neatly with Yelchin’s watercolor-and-pencil illustrations. Both capture the canine and the feline in this fresh take on the “new puppy in a cat’s house” tale.

A satisfying companion to Won Ton’s eponymous first outing (2011). (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9987-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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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 lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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