The charismatic Titch may well spark a guinea-pig bubble; he’s that cute.

READ REVIEW

BRUNO AND TITCH

A TALE OF A BOY AND HIS GUINEA PIG

It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship….

Titch, a chubby guinea pig with a winsome mohawk, waits anxiously, Corduroy-like, in his glass box in the pet shop for a Big Person to adopt him. A boy named Bruno sits in his room wishing for his very own guinea pig. Titch’s efforts to attract an owner pay off when Bruno finds him and takes him home. Titch’s excitement at finally being adopted is tempered with anxiety about the strange habits of his new young owner, who uses the hapless guinea pig as a prop in his wacky experiments. The sedate little pet is not well-adapted to floating in the tub in a saucepan, being flown aloft in a makeshift balloon or hurtling down a track on a homemade train. He gets really worried when Bruno starts planning something big that Titch does not understand. All is well, however, when the final creation is revealed: a “great guinea-pig palace of fun,” complete with Jacuzzi, hammock, convenient celery garden, a snack train bearing Titch’s favorite fruit and “Poo Hut.” Titch realizes that in spite of their different personalities, the pet and his owner are becoming the best of friends. Dempsey’s insightful text and charming pen, pencil and watercolor illustrations are filled with intriguing details that will fuel conversations about what is involved in choosing a pet—as well as plenty of laughs.

The charismatic Titch may well spark a guinea-pig bubble; he’s that cute. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7316-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long.

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THE SERIOUS GOOSE

Bet you can’t make this goose smile, no matter how hard you try.

TV personality Kimmel’s first foray into picture books presents a feathered grump with a scowl that is proof against any kind of foolery: Try putting a chicken on her head, dressing her as a moose, or even trucking in a snail pizza—this goose won’t crack. Breaking now and again into verse, he challenges readers to give it a try in a foil mirror: “Cluck like a chicken / moo like a cow / be doofy, be goofy / any way you know how”—and sure enough, eventually a grin bursts out to replace the grimace despite a multipage struggle to hold it in, and off prances the goose in a pair of (gender-bending) tighty whities. Yes, she’s become “a SILLY goose (thanks to you),” the narrator proclaims, and what’s more, “YOU are a silly kid.” A hand-lettered narrative in block printing big enough to take up most of the space accompanies thick-lined cartoon views of a goosey glare that dares readers to crank up the volume, and the last page turn reveals a final tweak that may add a few grown-up voices to the younger chorus of giggles.

The goose is all that’s serious here…and that not for long. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-70775-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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