A sweet, comical choice for readers transitioning to chapter books.


From the Kitty and Dragon series , Vol. 1

A quirky pairing of a dragon and a tabby cat makes for some amusing adventures, told in three vignettes.

It all starts when a gray feline simply named Kitty is driven out from the barn where she lives by the unrelenting noise from her farm buddies. She journeys through a downtown lined with magical shops and traverses a forest and hills before scaling a tall mountain. Along the way, various fairies, frogs, and colorful furry giants call out warnings of a “silent dragon” that lives at the top of the mount. Once she summits the peak, an exhausted Kitty finds a warm cave and a friendly red dragon who readily accepts her companionship. In the second chapter, Kitty has come down with a cold, so Dragon springs into action. After some research, he makes a blanket, noodle soup, and some tea, all shown in a series of charming scenes as he nurses Kitty back to health. For the finale, Kitty is frustrated by the messy tendencies of Dragon. Desperate, she buys a “tidying-up” potion from the magic shop downtown. The silly results force Kitty to weigh what she really values. Spare, declarative text effectively narrates while Reid supplies lively backdrops that frequently span double-page spreads and incredibly cute characters; Dragon is nonverbal but still plenty expressive. With just a few short sentences per page, this fits neatly between high-level early readers and more-complex chapter books.

A sweet, comical choice for readers transitioning to chapter books. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-6100-1

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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 goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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