A howlingly good time.

READ REVIEW

HOMER

Alex and Homer live, breathe and dream baseball. But this is Homer’s story.

There’s a big game tonight, one that will decide the league champion. Homer’s team is down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Some nice hitting loads the bases, and needless to say Homer hits a grand slam. It’s just a typical baseball tale. But the teams are the Hounds and the Doggers, and all the players are dogs of many breeds, as are the umpires, spectators and the announcer. The story is told with the briefest of simple phrases and sentences, some in speech or thought bubbles, and illustrated with double-page spreads and album-like panels of digitally collaged photographs. The format is everything here. The digital art supplies the uniforms, banners and other odds and ends, while the dogs have been photographed in myriad head poses and body positions. A few might have been digitally enhanced, but if so, they are seamless. Young readers will surely giggle at puns like, “It’s going to be a ruff game!” There’s also a distracting squirrel and a well-placed fire hydrant. Alex wakes to find Homer in his usual place, but there’s an autographed ball on the rug…. Even the endpapers are part of the fun, taking the form of doggie baseball cards.

A howlingly good time. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-33272-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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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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Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment.

PIG THE TOURIST

From the Pig the Pug series

People who live in popular spots always complain when human tourists invade, but when the visitor is an unruly dog like Pig the pug, the situation gets even worse.

The big-eyed, ill-behaved pug runs roughshod over everyone: his owner, a brown-skinned woman who remains faceless; Trevor, his owner’s other dog, a big-eyed dachshund (every human and animal has large eyes in Blabey’s amusing illustrations); and all the other people, animals, works of art, and architectural marvels encountered in Pig’s world travels. Pig disrupts a Japanese geisha’s lunch; he angers some scantily clad Caribbean carnival dancers; he breaks the head off the Sphinx in Egypt; and he disturbs the queen’s tea and menaces her prize corgis, prompting the headline: “CHAOS AT THE PALACE: Queen shaken, not stirred.” (Young readers will likely be unmoved by this joke.) Yes, the rhyming text is occasionally clever and the pictures are full of action, but there is nothing original in this skewed presentation of a few of the world’s best-known, stereotypically presented tourist sites. Although Pig does get a well-deserved punishment for his rude behavior (piranhas attack when he least expects it), he still manages to get the last word when he stinks up first class with a very explicitly visual fart. The moral of the story? Leave Pig in the kennel when you travel.

Everyone except die-hard Pig fans may skip this installment. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-59339-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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