SNOW FRIENDS

When boisterous pet dogs inadvertently play matchmaker for two children, a friendship is forged.

Snow is falling. Oscar the dog is ready for Matt, the White boy he lives with, to take him on a walk. Matt promises to do so later, but Oscar runs off. At a pond thick with ice, he meets Daisy, another dog so excited to be outside that she runs from the brown-skinned girl who had been holding her leash. With the action often divided into panels to accelerate the book’s pace, the dogs run and play vigorously in the snow. When Matt—now out of the house, looking for Oscar—and the girl finally locate their pets, they become fast friends, like their two dogs. The story is a pet-centric one: The dogs take the focus, and they don’t have owners. Instead, Matt is referred to as “[Oscar’s] boy,” and Daisy yelps, “My girl!” as she licks the girl’s face. Dog lovers may get a kick out of the way in which the dialogue is written: The dogs’ barks are translated, if you will, into English: “Let’s ice-skate!” yelps Daisy, and “Let’s build an igloo!” barks Oscar (a task they accomplish with ease with neither tools nor thumbs). There is an infectious exuberance underlying the story, one communicated in the opening spread (“Snow! Snow! And more snow!”) with drifts of snow building around Oscar’s house as well as in the tireless, curious energy of the dogs. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A joyous, wintry read. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-17131-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more