A touching story that will appeal to all dog lovers and to older children, including those with limited reading skills.

TUESDAY TUCKS ME IN

THE LOYAL BOND BETWEEN A SOLDIER AND HIS SERVICE DOG

An appealing golden retriever takes readers through his life as a service dog assisting a retired Army captain living with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

The story of Tuesday the service dog and his partner was first explored in Montalván’s best-selling memoir, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him (2011). This story for much younger readers offers a simplified look at the author’s life, with his beloved dog effectively employed as first-person narrator. The use of the canine as storyteller provides some distance from the author’s hardships while highlighting the undeniably charming golden retriever’s winning personality and photogenic expressions. Superb photographs of the author and Tuesday bring their urban lifestyle into sharp focus as they navigate the subway, stairs, taxi rides and visits to parks, as well as their shared life in their apartment. Full-page photographs alternate between smaller views set against backgrounds of mostly blues and purples, establishing a contemporary tone in the book’s thoughtful design. The simple text uses just a few sentences per page, with well-chosen details conveying the challenges Montalván faces in a matter-of-fact way. A concluding note from the author shares more of his history and information on service dogs assisting disabled veterans.

A touching story that will appeal to all dog lovers and to older children, including those with limited reading skills. (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-891-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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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