A seemingly effortless story replete with gentle humor and examples of resilience, helpfulness, and flexibility.

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PIGNIC

“It’s a perfect day for a pignic.”

On a sunny, blue-sky day, a frolicsome family of pigs sets off for a festive picnic, but enjoying the day isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Minimal text and sweet, playful pencil-and-watercolor art formatted in comic-strip panels and full- and double-page spreads show Phelan’s hardy porcine heroes as they valiantly set out on a worthy quest to enjoy themselves. But climbing trees can be hard when you’re short—is there anyone who can give a piglet a lift? Maybe a friendly tortoise can provide a step….And flying a kite can be a challenge without wind—is there anyone who can supply some? Perhaps a wolf with a lungful of hot air….The meal goes well (“Pretzels! Pies! Pickles! And plums!”), but when it looks as though a storm is coming (“Uh-oh. Dark clouds”), it’s up to the pigs to find the best in a bad situation. Mud, anyone? This warm, nearly wordless story is a nice choice for young listeners and early readers, who will bask in the light of this sparkling celebration of togetherness, goodwill, and the great outdoors. More sophisticated readers will wonder at the wolf’s intentions; what they will see as a change in heart brought about by the pigs’ disarming charm, younger readers will simply see as good-hearted fellow feeling.

A seemingly effortless story replete with gentle humor and examples of resilience, helpfulness, and flexibility. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-244339-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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