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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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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