What will these kitties conquer next? Hopefully a sequel.

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KITTIES ON DINOSAURS

Everyone knows kitties like to climb, but these kitties are obsessed.

A pink, a yellow, and a calico kitty who live together on a cat-shaped tropical island are expert climbers. They have climbed everything: a cat tree, a real tree, and even an ancient litter box surrounded by trees. Their next conquest: the dinosaurs on Dinosaur Island. Heedless of the narrator’s admonitions, the kitties climb into their domed, amphibious “litter mobile” (it has a periscope!), and they head out to climb some prehistoric monsters. Their first attempt ends with them literally bouncing down the back of a puzzled sauropod when it rears up on its hind legs. They next don cowboy boots in hopes of lassoing a dino, but this time they nearly end up in the lava pit. “Cat-mouflage” proves equally disastrous. A paratrooping plan D (who makes a plan D?) fails, but the dinos have been charmed by the kitties’ adorableness, and climbing ensues after some cuddling. That’s it, right? Dinosaurs must be the ultimate climb, but it turns out those were only dinosaur kids. Will they make a try for the Mommysaurs? Of course! Slack’s jokey, cajoling narration adds to the fun of this silly romp. The digitally painted illustrations of round-eyed kitties and toothy cartoon dinos will entice fans of both to read or listen. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 55% of actual size.)

What will these kitties conquer next? Hopefully a sequel. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-10838-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle...

THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING

Making things is difficult work. Readers will recognize the stages of this young heroine’s experience as she struggles to realize her vision.

First comes anticipation. The artist/engineer is spotted jauntily pulling a wagonload of junkyard treasures. Accompanied by her trusty canine companion, she begins drawing plans and building an assemblage. The narration has a breezy tone: “[S]he makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” The colorful caricatures and creations contrast with the digital black outlines on a white background that depict an urban neighborhood. Intermittent blue-gray panels break up the white expanses on selected pages showing sequential actions. When the first piece doesn’t turn out as desired, the protagonist tries again, hoping to achieve magnificence. A model of persistence, she tries many adjustments; the vocabulary alone offers constructive behaviors: she “tinkers,” “wrenches,” “fiddles,” “examines,” “stares” and “tweaks.” Such hard work, however, combines with disappointing results, eventually leading to frustration, anger and injury. Explosive emotions are followed by defeat, portrayed with a small font and scaled-down figures. When the dog, whose expressions have humorously mirrored his owner’s through each phase, retrieves his leash, the resulting stroll serves them well. A fresh perspective brings renewed enthusiasm and—spoiler alert—a most magnificent scooter sidecar for a loyal assistant.

Spires’ understanding of the fragility and power of the artistic impulse mixes with expert pacing and subtle characterization for maximum delight. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55453-704-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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