As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are.

THE BOY AND THE BLUE MOON

A boy and his cat magically travel to the moon on the night of the blue moon.

In this book that’s reminiscent of The Little Prince in its poetic otherworldly-ness that is nevertheless firmly rooted in human longings, a white boy and his cat venture out on a familiar forest walk on the night of the blue moon—a time, the boy says, when “anything can happen.” It’s hard to overstate how tightly crafted this story is, from its gently precise narrative (“Wish-wish,” say the waves—a hint to readers of the boy’s longing to go to the moon) to its illustrative prowess: the cat wordlessly turns blue as it grooms itself in six sequential vignettes, alerting readers early to magical potential. With a sure touch O’Leary suspends reality as the boy and cat first go for a row and then journey to the moon, which is “perfect”—but then, as in Sendak’s masterpiece, loneliness brings them home again. Crowley’s illustrations enhance and complete the story as he uses a predominantly blue-and-white palette to evoke a moonlit, shadow-filled night that convincingly creates magical possibility, just as the use of red for the boy’s lifejacket and then spacesuit and the yellow glow of the lights of home create a feeling of warmth and safety. 

As magical as The Little Prince; as satisfying as Where the Wild Things Are. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62779-774-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Hee haw.

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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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