Odd-couple fun for a new generation.


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 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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...


Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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