Serviceable fare for the automotive enthusiasts out there but with little to recommend it beyond opportunities for...

READ REVIEW

COOL CAT VERSUS TOP DOG

WHO WILL WIN IN THE ULTIMATE PET QUEST?

Ingenuity, acceleration, and more than a hint of Wile E. Coyote inform this race to determine the superior pet.

In the world of high-stakes pet racing, nothing compares to Pet Quest, the best choice for those with a need for speed. And in the household of Cool Cat and Top Dog, this race is just another way for the resident critters to exert dominance over each other. Every year they trade off the top spot, but this year both have some new tricks up their sleeves. When the race begins, dog and cat alike reveal a wide range of sneaky ploys, from alluring bones to a hose to the Pooper Shooter (which is exactly what it sounds like). Yet when their tricks wreck both of their cars, allowing a rascally rabbit a chance for the prize, these born enemies must overcome their differences to defeat the upstart bunny. Heavily inspired by high-speed cartoons, the computerized art feels like nothing so much as a series of high-quality storyboards. It’s bright and colorful, but the compositions are so busy that the characters hardly pop. Readers with even the slightest familiarity with the genre will see the end of this particular race a mile away.

Serviceable fare for the automotive enthusiasts out there but with little to recommend it beyond opportunities for caregiver-supplied vrooms and zooms. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84780-738-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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