An enjoyable, repeatable read-aloud with memorable art that will have readers hoping for another outing with Hugo.

READ REVIEW

NO MORE BOWS

A dog resists playing dress-up with his little girl.

Milly is a little white girl with red hair who has a big yellow dog called Hugo, with whom she plays tea party and dress-up with until it's time for a walk. Hugo’s amiable until she ties a bow on him, and the humiliated dog gets rid of it as soon as possible—but there's a new bow the next day and the next.…After days of progressively more outlandish bows, Hugo runs away to the city. But after seeing a happy dog wearing a bow with its own happy little girl, he misses Milly and runs home to get her, leading her to a most distinguished-looking bow. The next day, Hugo struts through the streets with his new bow. Cotterill's art style is a delight, with blocks of colors and patterns, a mix of brights and earth tones reminiscent of 1960s European cartoons, and she adds heavy black lines sparingly—to best effect with facial expressions. The story's basic take-away is "life is better with friends" but also perfectly demonstrates how to reframe new experiences to allow joy over discomfort. There are some clever elements in the art, most notably the way Hugo uses his bow to make a classic “hobo stick” when he runs away.

An enjoyable, repeatable read-aloud with memorable art that will have readers hoping for another outing with Hugo. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-240870-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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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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