Fans of Harkey’s previous works will enjoy this adventurous story of silly animal antics.

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The hunting dogs at Lazy Dog Hacienda deal with an interloping horse in this children’s book.

Chicoree’s Hickory Doc, a shorthaired pointer dog, his brother Zeke, and Deacon, another dog, feel threatened when a horse named B.J. arrives at their hacienda. The dogs inform her that her physical traits, such as her “solitary toes,” aren’t conducive to hunting. B.J. and the dogs swap insults, and Zeke and the horse get into a physical altercation, causing Zeke to stumble into a garden, where he gets bitten by a turtle. The dogs are jealous that B.J. receives extra attention, but Doc reassures the others that their canine assistance is still necessary. He tells Zeke that “B.J. can’t creep through the tall grass and find quail. Why, she would scare them off!” Angry after he spots B.J. snacking on dog food, Zeke proposes that they race, with the winner getting to eat all the chow in the barn. On race day, Zeke feigns illness, requiring Deacon, who has three legs, to compete instead. B.J. falls while attempting to nip Deacon’s nonexistent back leg. Deacon wins and shares his prize with the others—including B.J. (Doc reveals that their owner later sent B.J. to a new home because she “took a bite out of upholstery in his old red truck.”) Although this story features characters from Harkey’s (The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow, 2018, etc.) other books, it works well as a stand-alone title, as it includes introductory details, such as the dogs’ pedigree names, family history, and physical descriptions. A subplot about a cowbird who takes up residence in a dove’s nest feels underdeveloped, and it detracts from the main storyline; it might’ve been better as the focus of another book. The resolution of the main plot is also easy to predict, but this doesn’t detract from the book’s overall appeal. Returning illustrator Minick’s colorful, cartoonish images provide additional context; for example, the dogs’ owner is referred to only as “The Great One,” but the images clarify that he’s human.

Fans of Harkey’s previous works will enjoy this adventurous story of silly animal antics.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4808-7316-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017


From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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