A metafictive miss.

READ REVIEW

THIS BOOK JUST STOLE MY CAT!

Can Ben get his cat back?

While playing “tickle and chase across the page” with Ben, the boy’s rather large gray tabby cat vanishes into the gutter between pages even though Ben has presumably just run across it without incident. The string of the cat toy Ben was holding appears stuck in the break between pages. Bella happens along with her hula hoop and, claiming to have seen this before, goes in to investigate. A search-and-rescue truck that specializes in cats goes in next…then a rescue dog and a helicopter. At this point Ben decides he’ll have to do the job himself—and the book sneezes out the “book-tickling fluffy mouse” even as he disappears. Ben sends out instructions for readers to tickle the book and then turn the page, and the book eventually sneezes almost everyone out—but Ben’s cat it is now held aloft by its rapidly spinning tail. Clearly it’s the book’s fault. This outing is an unnecessary feline companion to This Book Just Ate My Dog (2015). Not only is it unclear why Ben can cross the gutter and others can’t, but it’s also hazy as to why the book sneezes the mouse toy out when it’s had it inside for several pages. Far better interactives are available. Ben and Bella are both white.

A metafictive miss. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-20667-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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THE WONKY DONKEY

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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