Time for a nap.

READ REVIEW

BUDDY AND EARL MEET THE NEIGHBORS

From the Buddy and Earl series

Buddy and Earl, dog and hedgehog, do what they do best: find adventure where there is none.

Fergus’ protagonists have been digging for treasure in the flower garden. But that gets old pretty fast, and Buddy, as is his wont, suggests a nap. Earl is appalled. He has decided they are superheroes: Wonder Buddy and Super Earl. They must save the city when an imaginary call from the mayor alerts the heroes to a villain on the loose. Buddy is a bit nonplussed by the whole fabrication, but Earl is the brains of the operation, and he keeps things rolling. Earl trails the villain to the new neighbors’ house, where they find Mister (a bulldog rather than a villain, and a bit of a rube, like Buddy) and Snowflake (not a villain but a cat, and a bit self-inflated, like Earl). There follow some classic follies—pride before the fall, dogs ripping leaf bags to shreds—which are successfully negotiated, and the new friends are invited to play Lick the Recycling Bin. At last it’s time for Buddy’s nap. The problem here is that the story lacks the bite of originality. Two little, fairly charming boasters get their comeuppance, but there is no way they will admit to it. Even Earl’s little zingers feel well-traveled.

Time for a nap. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77306-025-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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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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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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