Young readers will want to sit with this pair. They’re made for each other.


A child and dog forge a life-altering bond.

A scruffy brown dog meets a child on the street. Knowing intuitively they’re meant to be together, it politely inquires, “May I ask you a question?” and later asks, “Can I sit with you?” The first-person narration assures the child it will remain “familiar, loyal, true” through shyness, loneliness, tears, and good times. Child and dog soon ride around town (on the subway and a basket-equipped bike), take walks, and frolic. As the simple text and lush illustrations clarify, a gradual, subtle shift in the duo’s relationship dynamic occurs. The child, initially portrayed as a loner, eventually engages with the world with self-confidence and makes friends—as does the dog. The dog accepts it’s OK they won’t always sit alone together but knows its companion will always return: “I’ll understand the stray in you. It is in my nature, too.” At the end, the child (depicted with straight, dark hair and pale skin) returns to the jubilant pup from a “ramble” to these promising words: “I will sit with you.” But the takeaway is tantalizing: Who’s speaking to whom? This sweet, lovely tale should spark thoughtful conversations about friendship and empathy between children and adults. Pastel and watercolor illustrations brim with color and emotion, mirroring the protagonists’ light and occasional somber feelings with every page turn.

Young readers will want to sit with this pair. They’re made for each other. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6464-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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