While silliness rules here, the simple vocabulary, offbeat rhyme scheme, and laughworthy images should have lap readers...


A debut picture book explores some of the myriad things that dogs don’t do.

Dogs don’t attend school or prepare their own taxes; they don’t high-five, drive, or perform gymnastics. Drenth posits a number of actions readers should know dogs don’t do, sometimes interrupting the list with things they actually do (learn, enjoy car rides, etc.). The amusing images depict the ridiculousness of what a dog might look like indulging in noncanine activities. Debut illustrator Vazquez takes each of the ideas to its funniest extreme: A floppy-eared gray terrier takes a coffee break among office cubicles, a greyhound sprays his athlete’s foot in a locker room, and a pooch wearing the name tag Buck (featuring a star) works as a cashier at a coffee shop. The majority of the activities are humanized, with dogs in costumes, but a corgi who doesn’t pick up his poop is depicted in gleeful, doggy glory while his African-American owner looks sadly at the pile he must collect. The most important thing dogs do (featured in a spread full of assorted canines and their diverse humans)? Love and “be / your loyal friend / FOREVER WITHOUT END.” Drenth’s solid rhymes often feature uneven beats, which might throw off adults reading the text-light book aloud to young children. But he also gives the rhyme scheme an intriguing syncopation for repeated reads.

While silliness rules here, the simple vocabulary, offbeat rhyme scheme, and laughworthy images should have lap readers requesting this canine tale again and again.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-880760-71-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sunnyscene LLC

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.


A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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