It’s a well-worn theme, and takes with less risky coping strategies abound, from Kevin Henkes’ Julius, the Baby of the World...

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NEW BABY!

Young Simon is stunned to learn that his parents aren’t planning to send his new little brother back to the hospital.

Previously met tricking a friend in A Deal’s A Deal (2011) and turning a splinter into a sword in Super Bunny (2015), Simon indulges in further iffy behavior in this outing. The outrage that he feels at the prospect of having to share his home doesn’t survive a spell of nighttime thoughts that leave him terrified of a massive wolf attack. When his parents tell him to go back to bed, he plucks up his 3-day-old sibling on the way, announcing “I’m going to protect you, my teeny-weeny new baby.” The rationale is disingenuous but forgivable; less so, at least on this side of the Atlantic (the episode was originally published in France), is transplanting the infant from a secure basinet to an open bed sans parental permission or supervision. Big, rabbitlike ears aside, the white characters in Blake’s simply drawn and colored domestic scenes are human down even, in Simon’s mom’s case, to facial features.

It’s a well-worn theme, and takes with less risky coping strategies abound, from Kevin Henkes’ Julius, the Baby of the World (1991) on. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4255-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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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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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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