Amiable and entertaining, just like a well-behaved canine companion.

READ REVIEW

WHAT IS YOUR DOG DOING?

Snappy illustrations and a short, rhyming text depict a collection of canines in humorous activities from dreaming and scheming to shedding and sledding in this fetching story suitable as a read-aloud for young children or for newly independent readers.

The patterned text uses just a few words per page to describe each dog’s behavior or condition, with the appealing pups alternating between playful or mischievous activities and useful ones. Several specific canine breeds are shown engaging in their own specialty: a German shepherd as a police dog and a border collie herding sheep, for example. A few of the canine behaviors will need explanation by an adult, such as “dog wired” for an overactive pup or “dog in disgrace” for a dog who has tracked mud into the house. The collie in the “famous dog that gets chauffeured” illustration will be recognizable to those who grew up with black-and-white TV, but probably not to today’s children. Each of these illustrations provides an opportunity for discussion, however, introducing rich vocabulary into a super-short text. Computer-generated art from first-time illustrator Habbley uses a contemporary palette and crisp graphics to provide jazzy images of the adorable dogs. From a tiny Chihuahua “snug in a purse” to a huge St. Bernard, each dog has an engaging face and expression.

Amiable and entertaining, just like a well-behaved canine companion. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7931-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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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 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

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