A very accessible story that will strike a chord with pet lovers and military families.

READ REVIEW

OPERATION RESCUE DOG

Alma and her abuela get a rescue dog as a surprise for her mother’s return from Iraq.

Alma and Abuela are getting ready to pick up a dog “the color of Mami’s eyes.” It’s a long way to the place where the Operation Rescue Dog truck will be. While Abuela makes arepas de queso—the family is originally from Colombia or Venezuela, perhaps—Alma packs snacks for the journey. Meanwhile, readers also find out about Lulu, the dog they will eventually adopt. Lulu’s story starts off in sad and somber shades of steel blue as readers learn of her abandonment near a highway, for weeks eating acorns and drinking from puddles. Eventually, Lulu finds herself on the Operation Rescue Dog truck heading for the place where she will meet her forever family. As humans and dog travel toward their meeting destination, not all is smooth sailing. Abuela’s car gets a flat tire that could make them miss their rendezvous, and Lulu shivers and shakes, eventually running away from the truck. But all’s well that ends well, and dog and child are united: “Alma smells like…home. So does Lulu.” The mixed-media illustrations portray people of different skin colors, while Alma and her abuela have brown skin. The backmatter includes further information on pet rescue and a glossary.

A very accessible story that will strike a chord with pet lovers and military families. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0667-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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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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