Ultimately, since Chuck ends up smartly eschewing the pants at book’s end, the title even ends up seeming like a misnomer.

PANTS FOR CHUCK

From the I Like To Read series

A beginning reader with a silly story that may or may not hold up to interrogation about anthropomorphic animals and story logic.

Big Chuck is a woodchuck who enjoys playing with other backyard animals such as a chipmunk, mice, a rabbit, a raccoon and a chickadee. They play, running and climbing about until Chuck spies a rag doll on the ground and inspects its clothing. He decides he wants the doll’s pants for himself and tries to squeeze into them. The others are obviously correct when they tell him that he is too big and the pants are too small, but Chuck ignores their protests and tries to run and climb about, just as before. Humorous watercolors capture the physical comedy of the scenes, and he remains determined to wear the pants until his girth makes them burst at the seams, with text reading “Pop! Rip!” Depending on readers’ suspension of disbelief, it’s either funny or confusing that on the next page Chuck covers his backside in embarrassment as the other animals look away. None of them is wearing clothing, and he was likewise Chuck-naked before donning the pants, so the internal logic of the story seems a bit off.

Ultimately, since Chuck ends up smartly eschewing the pants at book’s end, the title even ends up seeming like a misnomer. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3066-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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