Just as prickly as its heroine, this book requires an audience ready for its sobering back story.

READ REVIEW

SOME CAT!

Violet the cat finds it hard to make friends with her new owners’ two dogs until they show their loyalty despite her unfriendliness.

Casanova’s energetic text begins with a brief mention of Violet’s previous home, where there was “too little food and too much shouting.” Presumably that’s why she hisses and spits at the people who stop by her cage at the shelter. Most walk away, but one couple decides to take her home. Once there she terrorizes George and Zippity, heroes of Some Dog! (2007). Things change after a trio of stray dogs finds her alone in the yard. Once rescued, Violet undergoes a serious attitude adjustment. From the cover that shows a wide-eyed, anxious-looking cat to the implication that Violet’s earlier experiences shaped her personality to the fairly scary attack by the stray dogs, this is not a typically perky pet-adoption tale. Hoyt’s illustrations, which appear to combine watercolor and pencil, set the story in and around a house by a lake and offer a mostly realistic look at the action. The cozy setting and some visual humor lighten the mood, as does Casanova’s use of nonsense words to convey the barking and meowing of the various animals.

Just as prickly as its heroine, this book requires an audience ready for its sobering back story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-374-37123-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more