Please, let there be more adventures of Mac and Cheese, the Felix and Oscar of the early-reader world.

MAC AND CHEESE AND THE PERFECT PLAN

From the Mac and Cheese series

In this offering for emerging readers, Mac and Cheese, two cat friends, prove that opposites attract, even in the feline world.

Cheese, a grumpy marmalade tabby, would rather sleep on his trashcan than join Mac for a day at the sea. The day is hot, the bus will be by soon and the only thing standing between the cats and the beach is a little preparation. Despite Mac’s encouraging song (or perhaps because of it), Cheese does not want to go. When Mac agrees to stop singing, Cheese relents, sort of. Insisting a trip to the beach includes packing just about everything (food, clothing, toys, books, a boat), Cheese slows the process until the bus heads down the road and the friends are left behind. Though Mac’s little song (“Please, Cheese, please, / Come to the sea, / Come to the sea, Cheese, / Please with me”) does not trip easily off the tongue, the rest of the text is rhythmic, at times pleasantly reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, making it easy to read. Humorous watercolor illustrations, including full- and double-page spreads and such little details as allowing the whiskers and eyebrows to reflect feline feelings make this one new reader that will be eagerly read over and over.

Please, let there be more adventures of Mac and Cheese, the Felix and Oscar of the early-reader world. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-117082-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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