A kind story about friendship in an appealing format.

LET'S HAVE A SLEEPOVER!

From the Hello, Hedgehog series , Vol. 2

Best animal friends are back in Feuti’s follow-up to Do You Like My Bike? (2019).

Harry the guinea pig is excited about going to Hedgehog’s house for a sleepover. He packs his pillow, toothbrush, and blanket but wisely decides to not bring along his goldfish or bowling ball. He’s not sure about Simon, his red teddy bear, asserting “I am too old for teddy bears.” Of course there’s no such thing as too old for teddy bears, and Simon ends up in his backpack. Harry’s anxiety gets the better of him in the next chapter, more than twice as long as the first, when he discovers that Hedgehog has set up a tent in the backyard. Harry makes up excuse after excuse, and empathetic Hedgehog realizes that maybe his friend would feel safer indoors, which is where the party moves to, and the story ends with a cheerful game of hide-and-seek. The innocence and sweetness of the first book in the series continues to be felt here, a gentle introduction to common fears children face. Bright and clear illustrations enhance the humor and care shared between the two, though slightly ineffective pacing and a bland closing chapter mar the flow. Children looking for early graphic novels as well as those ready to advance from Elephant & Piggie will enjoy this low-stakes drama.

A kind story about friendship in an appealing format. (Graphic early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-28141-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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