BARKUS

From the Barkus series , Vol. 1

Nicky, Barkus, and Baby the kitten will appeal to fans of the Henry and Mudge series as well as to the younger picture-book...

A child grows to love a new canine companion in this initial offering in a new series of early chapter books by Newbery Medalist MacLachlan.

Protagonist Nicky narrates the story, which is divided into five brief chapters with short sentences set in large type. Nicky’s new pet, Barkus, is a large, brown dog who seems friendly, smart, and well-behaved. In short, episodic chapters, Barkus joins Nicky at school, celebrates his birthday with some canine pals, and finds a pet kitten as his special companion. In the final chapter, Nicky, Barkus, and the kitten spend the night in a backyard tent, with Nicky conquering a longstanding fear of the dark. Nicky tells the dog and kitten a bedtime story, which effectively summarizes the entire book in an amusing way. Nicky and Nicky's parents are white, the teacher has tan skin, and Nicky’s classmates are a multiethnic group. Cheery illustrations with a perky, 1960s vibe feature polka-dot patterns on the cover and endpapers and depict characters with buggy, cartoon-style eyes. Illustrations on almost every page include a variety of format sizes from small vignettes to full pages, alternating between white and brightly colored backgrounds.

Nicky, Barkus, and Baby the kitten will appeal to fans of the Henry and Mudge series as well as to the younger picture-book audience. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1182-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 66


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 66


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Categories:

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Close Quickview