Fred has certainly matured since his first outing. Readers may have mixed feelings about a third, though.

READ REVIEW

I LOVE YOU, FRED

The untrained, exuberant dog and his patient child owner from I Will Love You Anyway (2016) are back, this time exploring the meaning of a name.

The puglike dog with the huge eyes, sweat bands, and tendency to run away has earned a ribbon from his dog obedience class. The pup now responds appropriately to “Fetch,” “Sit,” and “Stay” and knows “Ball,” “Walk,” “Park,” and “Bed.” But the meaning of the word “Fred” eludes him, the adorable tilt of his head conveying his confusion. Eager to please, the dog just wants to know how to “Fred” so he’ll earn a “Good Boy!” Maybe the dog upstairs (his reflection in a mirror) knows? What about the dog he spies in the water while chasing ducks in the park? Trying to play with that pup leads him to trouble. Luckily, his child comes to his rescue, snuggling the dog close and whispering his name. “A light goes on inside my head!” Fred’s his name, and he can now Fred with the best of them. A cozy ending celebrates the love between dog and child. While Mick Inkpen’s rhymes sometime belabor the point and nearly overstay their welcome, Chloë Inkpen’s illustrations against white backgrounds give readers a view from the dog’s perspective, and his expressions and body language convey much. Fred’s child, the only human in the book, presents white.

Fred has certainly matured since his first outing. Readers may have mixed feelings about a third, though. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1475-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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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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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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