A winner for young sky watchers with stars…or cheese…in their eyes.

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SPACE MICE

With that big ball of cheese hanging so temptingly in the sky, what’s a pair of hungry mice to do?

Marching to a pared-down rhyme of just three or four words per line, Alpaugh’s cute and capable mice determinedly gather tools and materials, design and build a rocket, and blast off. They touch down on a surface more like Roquefort than regolith and emerge from the capsule, equipped with a cleverly designed lunar backhoe: “Landing, standing / on the moon. / that’s one small step— / and one big spoon!” After they’ve stuffed themselves, there’s nothing left for an astonished young human astronomer back on Earth to see but a thin crescent. Presenting white, this child gapes up at the suddenly no-longer-full moon as the mouse astronauts tow their reentry capsule—and one last piece of moon—off the page. There’s lots of humor on the pages, from the mice wielding full-size human tools to a cheese-loving stowaway ant. A Right Stuff head-on view of the spacesuited mice, helmets under their arms, is particularly chuckleworthy. The venture recalls Andy Mansfield’s Journey to the Moon (2015), with its similarly cheesy climax, but it also pairs well with other extraterrestrial trips such as Dan Yaccarino’s Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off to the Moon! (1997; tragically, out of print) and Nancy Shaw and Margo Apple’s Sheep Blast Off! (2008).

A winner for young sky watchers with stars…or cheese…in their eyes. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7553-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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