CHARLIE THE RANCH DOG

WHERE'S THE BACON?

From the Charlie the Ranch Dog series

Fans of Charlie’s previous picture books will like reading more about his life on the ranch, but others might concur with...

Basset hound Charlie learns to share with a visiting yellow Lab named Rowdy in this mildly entertaining early reader.

Charlie has previously starred in several picture books about his life on the ranch owned by author Drummond. This offering for beginning readers, the first in a series, uses Drummond’s characters and deGroat’s illustration style from the previous picture books, although the text and illustrations here are done by others (presumably the Amanda Glickman and Rick Whipple “gratefully acknowledge[d]” on the copyright page). The slight plot involves a visit from Rowdy, who is (of course) a boisterous sort whose personality doesn’t mesh well with the laconic basset hound. Rowdy takes over Charlie’s food and bed, invades his “personal space” and cozies up to Charlie’s owner. After Rowdy is banished to an outside doghouse, Charlie takes pity on him and invites him inside to share the sofa for a nap. The illustrations help convey the canine personalities through amusing expressions on the dogs’ faces, and Charlie’s little chipmunk friend is hidden on each spread for young readers to find.

Fans of Charlie’s previous picture books will like reading more about his life on the ranch, but others might concur with Rowdy as he naps on the sofa: “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-221909-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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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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