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LANA LYNN AND THE NEW WATCHDOG

A laugh-out-loud case of mistaken identity.

Following her debut in Lana Lynn Howls at the Moon (2019), intrepid sheep Lana Lynn surprises her flock’s new watchdog.

Discovering her flock is getting a watchdog as protection from wolves, Lana Lynn decides to handle his training. When a “stranger with yellow eyes and pointed teeth” creeps out of the woods, Lana Lynn assumes he’s the watchdog, but her more discerning pal Shawn’s not sure. Lana Lynn asks the stranger if he’s there to “take care of the sheep,” and he nods and licks his lips. She immediately commences training the stunned stranger, relentlessly ordering him to move the flock from meadow to pond, which he fails at all afternoon. By evening, unflappable Lana Lynn initiates phase two of watchdog training, forcing the stranger to stay awake all night and the following day to guard the flock. Phase three involves the now-exhausted, befuddled stranger protecting Shawn while Lana Lynn pretends to be an attacking wolf. However, when the stranger grabs Shawn, Lana Lynn decides the training’s over, just in time for her to meet the real new watchdog. While the text suggests the stranger’s other than the watchdog, the droll illustrations leave no doubt. Loose outlines and flat, colorful shapes reveal the stranger to be an increasingly confused, overwhelmed, and whipped wolf who has clearly met his match in determined, clueless little Lana Lynn.

A laugh-out-loud case of mistaken identity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68263-196-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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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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