Although this book carries the prestigious imprimatur of the Tate Trustees, it won’t compete with more creative and original...

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HEDGEHOG HOLIDAYS

The prickly friends Herbert and Hilda are inspired by reading a book about the sea to make a trip to the seaside.

They check out the bus schedule and collect an assortment of beach toys and a picnic. They hop on the bus and wend their way to the seaside. Their enjoyment of their picnic is marred by the arrival of some ants, who march off with large quantities of their food. They have fun with a beach ball until it is popped by Hilda’s spikes. They meet some sea creatures, including a crab wearing socks (six of them). Hilda goes sailing and meets some dolphins, and Herbert has fun on a surfboard. After a final ice cream treat, the hedgehogs board the bus and make their way home, where they relax and admit that “The seaside is lovely, but home is the best!” And that’s about it. Strong, humorous illustrations in bold colors with thick black outlines reminiscent of the Maisie series are appealing to look at but do not compensate for an uninspiring plot. Poor-quality rhyming verse (“Herbert is hot, so as quick as a flash, / He jumps in the water and makes a big SPLASH”) makes this a faltering effort at best.

Although this book carries the prestigious imprimatur of the Tate Trustees, it won’t compete with more creative and original efforts on the same theme.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-84976-484-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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