Goodnight, Good Dog. Sure to be shelved next to Goodnight, Moon. It deserves that rarefied spot.

READ REVIEW

GOODNIGHT, GOOD DOG

It’s bedtime for a puppy who is not sleepy at all.

Though the biscuit-brown puppy knows that it’s dark and that his moon-round bed is ready for him, he is not sleepy. He knows he’s had a busy day and understands the words, “Goodnight, good dog,” but it does not matter. The house is asleep, and the children are too, but this little canine is still moving. Like many of the little ones who will read this perfectly paced goodnight book, this good dog doesn’t think he is ready for bed, but just getting comfy in the bed allows him to feel snug enough to drift off to dreamland. The muted acrylic drawings, outlined in heavy black lines, show the darkening house quieting down for the evening. This keeps the focus on the dog, allowing young readers to observe the puppy and predict just when he will drift off, never realizing that the puppy is the perfect stand-in for the human child, who is also beginning to settle in for the night. Rich language (“Maybe he can dream back the sun?”), so rare in a book that new readers might tackle on their own, adds to the appeal. The pace of the page turns gently slows down as this good dog heads to his dreams.

Goodnight, Good Dog. Sure to be shelved next to Goodnight, Moon. It deserves that rarefied spot. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-28612-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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