A merry, witty celebration of chaos and grumpiness.

READ REVIEW

HOTEL BRUCE

A cantankerous bear’s home is once again wrested from his control.

Even though he’s a bear, Bruce accompanies four geese south every winter for their yearly migration. Personally he “would have preferred to hibernate,” but he’s their mom (Mother Bruce, 2015). Returning one spring—on a bus, naturally—they discover that mice have turned their (human-style) house into a woodland hotel. The ensuing commotion includes possum pillow fights, a beaver eating at the table—well, eating the table—a fox trying to coax turtle-guests into a pot of boiling water (“It’s a bath!”), and a tourist bus full of elephants. As cheekily funny as the illustrations are, even funnier is their juxtaposition with the often understated narration. “It was a long night” shows Bruce in his one-bear–sized bed with four unrelated animals—the porcupine wanting to snuggle, the rabbit needing to pee—plus two of his own kids. When the mice-proprietors urge Bruce to check out (“Our bellhops will see to your luggage”), Bruce’s own children—the geese, who, though technically adults, act like toddlers—appear in bellhop uniforms. Dialogue is in speech bubbles. With deftly drawn lines that vary from bold to fine over tertiary colors, Higgins creates touchable textures (wallpaper; hardwood floors) and hilarious facial expressions, including Bruce’s perpetually scowling unibrow.

A merry, witty celebration of chaos and grumpiness. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4362-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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