It’s particularly wonderful to see black children partaking of the joys a pet brings—charming and delightful.



A pair of siblings discovers things to avoid with their new puppy.

The brown-skinned siblings—overjoyed to have a new puppy—are instructed by an unseen narrator that though puppies are generally “lovely,” there are some “simple rules” to follow in caring for one. What follows is a list of hilarious don’ts: don’t teach her to play the tuba (the pup happily sticks out of the bell of the tuba and barks); don’t take her to the library (the puppy merrily barks while one smiling child shushes her and an unimpressed adult looks on); don’t let her juggle dishes (a smiling pup balances dishes on her nose, the kitchen floor littered with broken crockery)—these are just a few. The “don’t” activities range from the everyday (chasing butterflies, going to the swimming pool, gardening) to the extreme (hang-gliding). The children and puppy are all adorable and full of joy, and the watercolor, pencil, and print illustrations capture a sense of child- and puppylike energy and glee. Even when one child appears concerned about the puppy’s antics, the other is usually laughing, and the puppy is ever jubilant. The penultimate spread is a montage of do’s that include cuddling, loving, and playing, and the ultimate spread is a touching depiction of the siblings and puppy embracing, their affection clearly evident.

It’s particularly wonderful to see black children partaking of the joys a pet brings—charming and delightful. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-047-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


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

Did you like this book?

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

  • Caldecott Honor Book


A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet