This rambunctious pup doesn’t really stand out in the crowded field of stories about lovable dogs. (Picture book/early...


A mischievous bulldog named Rollo gets into various types of mischief around the house with amusing results.

Rollo is a full-grown bulldog with a friendly face and a collar sporting a tag with a gold letter R. He lives with his unnamed child owner, who narrates the story, describing each action that Rollo relishes, such as digging in the yard, chewing shoes, climbing on the furniture, and chasing squirrels. The patterned text states Rollo’s choice of behavior, the consequence, and the narrator’s reaction, often including the refrain, “UH-OH, ROLLO!!” The child merely reacts to Rollo’s wild behavior without providing any leadership or disciplinary consequences, and there are no adults around to discipline the dog. The canine’s actions are mildly funny, with some melodramatic crashes when Rollo falls off a chair or runs into a wall, accompanied by single words in large display type indicating the results (“BONK!” “WHAM!”). A too-pat conclusion shows Rollo seeming to apologize for his misbehavior by cuddling up to his owner with a guilty smile. Humorous cartoon-style illustrations capture Rollo’s antics as well as the child’s rather helpless attitude. While this story isn’t marketed as an early reader, the simple, patterned text and repeated refrains make it accessible to new readers.

This rambunctious pup doesn’t really stand out in the crowded field of stories about lovable dogs. (Picture book/early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9243-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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. 29, 2018

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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