Appealing images of real-life cats and a message of caring, effective in its simplicity.

THE CAT WHISPERER

A LOVE STORY

In this picture book, cats residing in a nursing home spread a little girl’s message of love.

Bella, a budding White “cat whisperer,” visits her grandmother and her grandmother’s cat, Boo, at a nursing home. Orange tabby Boo is one of many cats living with nursing home residents, and when Bella whispers goodbye to Boo, saying, “I love you! Pass it on,” Boo does just that. Bella’s words make their rounds throughout the nursing home as each cat repeats them to another feline. When the words come full circle and return to Boo, he whispers them to Bella’s grandmother as he curls up in her lap to sleep. Photographs of Bella and the book’s many cats are well-chosen stock images expertly and expressively edited and positioned for maximum visual appeal by the author, an artist and veteran graphic designer. Young cat lovers will enjoy seeing page after page of different breeds and their varied physical characteristics: Abyssinian kittens, a British blue, a gray tabby, a ginger kitten, a white cat, a big-eyed black cat, a fluffy cat, and more. A tiny kitten sits in a coffee mug, a cat in a box extends a paw, a playful cat is tangled in yarn, a “naughty cat” scratching the furniture is caught in the act. Hall’s series of compassionate, “I love you, pass it on,” picture books for children ages 3 to 8 also feature horses and dogs.

Appealing images of real-life cats and a message of caring, effective in its simplicity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73391-852-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: BLOODLINE PUBLISHERS

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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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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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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