Odd-couple fun for a new generation.

THE COOL CAT CLUB

From the Jasper & Scruff series

What’s dapper cat Jasper to do with a scruffy pup?

Jasper lives on the top floor of a building surrounded by his books (arranged by cover color), fine art, and “bow ties in every pattern imaginable.” He knows what he likes and what he wants: Currently, he wants to have the right friends. He’s sure the Sophisticats are the right friends. Only the “finest felines” are admitted to the elite cat club, and Jasper longs to be one of them. To that end, he invites them to dinner and sets about making everything perfect. However, on a trip to the market just before the soiree, he’s followed home by a drooly puppy named Scruff. Jasper manages to get rid of him just before the Sophisticats arrive. Lady Catterly swans in and demands to be waited on; Reginald and Oswald arrive and enter their drink orders, too. Just as Jasper is about to serve, Scruff returns and trips him up. The Sophisticats throw attitude. Jasper tries to please. Nothing is good enough for them. When Scruff, behind closed doors, nearly demolishes the special, Jasper reflects on the behavior of all his guests…and picks the one he’d most like to spend time with. Colton’s series opener will entertain cat (and dog) lovers who are ready to make the leap to chapters. The four-color cartoon illustrations on every page of this British import cheekily move the tale along. Book 2, The Treasure Hunt, publishes simultaneously.

Odd-couple fun for a new generation. (Fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-202-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 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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This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking.

EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS

A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes.

In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have “eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,” but her eyes are different. She “has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” Author Ho’s lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl’s eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama’s “eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,” telling the narrator, “I’m a miracle. / In those moments when she’s all mine.” Mama’s eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah’s. While she notes that her grandmother’s eyes “don’t work like they used to,” they are able to see “all the way into my heart” and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho’s spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah’s eyes are like those of the narrator’s little sister. Mei-Mei’s eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho’s textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80.5% of actual size.)

This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one’s roots is breathtaking. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291562-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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