A clever twist on traditional dog-versus-cat animosity, with subtle overtones of sharing and tolerance.

UP ON BOB

Dog and cat meet cute and make friends.

Bob is a dachshund with huge, expressive eyes and a mission to sleep all day on a carefully made twin bed. The understated text works with the drolly humorous illustrations to describe Bob’s “hard work” of creating a perfectly comfy sleeping spot. The dog tosses stuffed animals off the bed, rumples up the bedding, knocks over a lamp, and then settles in to the chaos in a cozy nest of pillows and blankets. A set of cat ears appears behind the bed, and the cat is gradually revealed on subsequent pages, referred to in mysterious fashion only as Someone. The cat watches and waits and then, on a double-page-spread with great dramatic impact, leaps through the air toward Bob. This spread with the attacking cat has as text only the single word “POUNCE!” illustrated in huge letters with the effect of reverberating motion. Replacing “Bob” with “Someone,” the text then repeats all the steps Bob went through to create the perfect sleeping spot, this time with illustrations depicting the cat mauling Bob and crawling in next to the surprisingly tolerant dog for a long nap together. Both Bob and Someone the cat have irresistible expressions, with their huge eyes conveying emotion on every page. This funny story will have wide appeal, from preschoolers just learning about humor right up to new readers, who will be able to handle the brief text set in a large font

A clever twist on traditional dog-versus-cat animosity, with subtle overtones of sharing and tolerance. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-99471-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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