A delight for dog lovers, if not particularly useful in arts education.

READ REVIEW

LUMPITO AND THE PAINTER FROM SPAIN

A sweet-natured story about a real little dachshund (lump means “rascal” in German) who won Picasso’s heart.

Kulling based this simple picture book on the real-life pet of Life photographer David Duncan. This diminutive dog was dominated by the Duncan’s Afghan, Big Dog. One day, Duncan and Lump (there’s only room for one small dog) motor down to the south of France in a zippy sports car for a shoot of the renowned artist. Picasso and the dog bond immediately, and Duncan decides that the little dog would be happier as part of a bustling household that includes a friendly big dog named Yan and a frisky goat called Esmeralda. Lump soon becomes the painter’s beloved little “Lumpito.” The prolific painter later includes his doggy companion in many works, including his studies of Las Meninas, the famed Diego Velázquez painting of the Spanish court (the original also features a dog in the foreground). Disappointingly, no explanatory backmatter is included to supplement the brief text, missing the opportunity to add much-needed depth and detail to this fascinating and appealing story drawn from fact. Despite the notable textual limitations, Griffiths’ lighthearted paintings charm. In some, the little dachshund seems heroic, nearly life-sized—quite a feat when he is sharing a story about a painter who most agree was himself larger than life.

A delight for dog lovers, if not particularly useful in arts education. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-927485-00-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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