Jarvis’ tale will inspire listeners to laugh...and ask for an octopuppy.

THE OCTOPUPPY

When is a dog not a dog? When he’s an octopuppy.

“Edgar wanted a dog. / But Edgar didn’t get a dog. He got Jarvis.” Edgar’s strange new pet can’t do any of the cool things a dog does. Jarvis has eight wiggly arms and is no good on walks. Acknowledging that Jarvis is clever, however, Edgar thinks, upon seeing a poster for a dog show, that with a little training, Jarvis might be able to do what show dogs do. When he commands “lie down,” Jarvis puts on a night cap and jammies and snuggles up with a teddy bear. When Edgar commands “play dead,” Jarvis dons a mummy’s bandages and moans atmospherically. He’s almost a total failure…but Jarvis does learn to sit. The spectacularly talented Jarvis is, unfortunately, a disaster at the dog show, angering and embarrassing Edgar. It is only after Jarvis leaves (leaving a note apologizing for being a bad dog) that Edgar realizes what a great pet he had. British illustrator McKenna’s first U.S. release is an excellent, absurd addition to the I-want-a-pet genre. His digitally created art, dotted with wacky detail and visual gags, effectively milks the situation for maximum looniness, absolutely going to town with the body-language possibilities offered by eight arms.

Jarvis’ tale will inspire listeners to laugh...and ask for an octopuppy. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-75140-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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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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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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