EVERY DOG IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Whether you’re a dog lover or not, count this one a winner.

A boy who counts dogs winds up counting his blessings, too.

When Louis wonders how many dogs live in his neighborhood, neither his grandma nor City Hall can provide an answer. Louis conducts a dog census and discovers that most people in his community have at least one dog—including a pooch who lives only in his owner’s heart. He also encounters cat, bird, and reptile owners. Louis compiles a numbered list of dogs, noting quirky names and characteristics and taking occasional breaks to report his findings to his feisty, white-haired Grandma, who is busily constructing something—delightfully revealed at the story’s end. Finally, Louis announces his tally to Grandma; but wait—she introduces him to yet another dog owner, a twist that makes for one heartwarming, satisfying ending. This charming, gently humorous tale will resonate with youngsters. Adults will appreciate the winks directed at them: the dog named E.B. dreams of writing animal stories; pups Nos. 17 and 18 on Louis’ list are named Thelonious and Monk respectively. Illustrations rendered with pen, ink, and watercolor and marked by Cordell’s signature quick, loose strokes complement the sweet story and capture Louis and Grandma’s loving relationship admirably; some art is set in spots and panels. The protagonists present White; their neighbors are diverse in race, age, and physical ability. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Whether you’re a dog lover or not, count this one a winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4427-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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