Black and White Cat, White and Black Dog

In Shannon’s debut children’s book, a cat and dog go from apprehensive cohabitants to best friends.
When a small cat joins the home of a large dog, the two animals are initially suspicious of each other. Shannon’s pastel illustrations, in vibrant hues of lime green, cornflower blue, fire-engine red and tangerine, depict the peaceful home where the animals coexist as they keep watchful eyes on each other. Textured, undulating edged frames contain the simple images to create engaging compositions, and animal paw-prints add decorative flourishes on the pages’ corners. As the title suggests, the white dog with black markings and black cat with white accents are opposites, both in appearance and habits; the dog is loud and energetic, while the cat appears sharp and intimidating. The animals’ relationship changes one day when the dog shows the cat an unexpected kindness. The two soon learn that they share many common interests and become inseparable companions. Although Shannon’s prose isn’t particularly rhythmic, its language is simple and easy for young children to follow. However, the repeated identifications of the animals as “the white and black dog” and “the black and white cat” may prove to be tongue twisters when read aloud. At pivotal points in the story, Shannon pauses the narrative, asking young readers to consider the events: “White and black dog shared her food with black and white cat. What a nice thing to do. Are you surprised?” By engaging in such critical thinking, young readers may better absorb the story’s lessons about compassion and judging others by their characters. Although the unlikely companionship between a cat and a dog isn’t an especially original or exciting theme, the story’s moral is applicable and universally relatable to children. Furthermore, the vivid colors may help keep young eyes engaged.

A creatively illustrated, if often heard, lesson about acceptance and friendship for preschool to kindergarten-aged children.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989773201

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Muse Direct

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2014

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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