FETCH!

From the Peanut, Butter, and Crackers series , Vol. 2

Characters seamlessly work both as pets with animal traits and siblings with recognizable new-student fears.

A puppy has a rough first day of what’s effectively doggy kindergarten in a comical graphic adventure.

Peanut the floppy-eared puppy lives with Butter the cat and Crackers the dog. Crackers is excited to teach Peanut all about doggy school, where you learn to be a good dog (good dogs get treats). After Peanut and Crackers leave their crate at Barktown Doggy School, though, Crackers and the “middles” are separated from Peanut and the “littles.” Tiny Peanut is an easy victim for a pack of bully puppies (many of whom wear dog clothing of varying degrees of silliness). Butter and Crackers, upset by Peanut’s clear distress, are determined to help the youngest member of their “fur family.” The trio all get drawn into separate adventures, but when chance brings the aspiring rescuers together with Peanut in the pen with the big dogs, they collaborate to save one another. The cartoon illustrations are a good match for both the dogs’ exuberance and for the cat’s humorously careful posture of ennui. The straightforward linear panels, colored by Efird, will be easy to decode, but the switching point of view among Peanut, Butter, and Crackers as they have their separate adventures will be more of a challenge for younger readers. Final art not seen.

Characters seamlessly work both as pets with animal traits and siblings with recognizable new-student fears. (Graphic fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11746-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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. 28, 2018

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FLY GUY PRESENTS: SHARKS

From the Fly Guy series

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity.

Buzz and his buzzy buddy open a spinoff series of nonfiction early readers with an aquarium visit.

Buzz: “Like other fish, sharks breathe through gills.” Fly Guy: “GILLZZ.” Thus do the two pop-eyed cartoon tour guides squire readers past a plethora of cramped but carefully labeled color photos depicting dozens of kinds of sharks in watery settings, along with close-ups of skin, teeth and other anatomical features. In the bite-sized blocks of narrative text, challenging vocabulary words like “carnivores” and “luminescence” come with pronunciation guides and lucid in-context definitions. Despite all the flashes of dentifrice and references to prey and smelling blood in the water, there is no actual gore or chowing down on display. Sharks are “so cool!” proclaims Buzz at last, striding out of the gift shop. “I can’t wait for our next field trip!” (That will be Fly Guy Presents: Space, scheduled for September 2013.)

A first-rate sharkfest, unusually nutritious for all its brevity. (Informational easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-50771-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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