UH-OH, ROLLO!

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 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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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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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

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