Concept and execution could not be better. Readers of all ages are the winners the moment they open this book.

BOW-WOW'S NIGHTMARE NEIGHBORS

Bow-Wow is back (Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug, 2007), here in pursuit of mischievous ghost cats that reside next door.

The story begins with Bow-Wow sleeping soundly on his cozy teal dog bed, but a trio of bright white felines arrive on the scene. While one bites his tail, the others take his bed, leaving the poor dog to recover from the shock of what happened. Of course, he follows his attackers across the street to a gloomy estate. Here is where the real antics occur. First the pup trips on a loose floorboard that leads to a fall headfirst down a chute. When he lands, he discovers a seemingly haunted picture with moving eyes. Escaping other tail-biting cats, he searches through room after room for his bed. Each time he sees a bit of teal he is disappointed. A dress, a burglar’s bag and a toilet seat cover are found—and unexpected silly surprises result. Throughout the quest, readers will glimpse dozens of white cats shape-shifting to better hide from or attack the dog. In this completely wordless picture book, Newgarden and Cash cue readers with various techniques taken from comics. In some scenes, a series of smaller frames builds to a dramatic turn of events, and page turns are never predictable.

Concept and execution could not be better. Readers of all ages are the winners the moment they open this book. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59643-640-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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