A far meow from purr-fectly original.

READ REVIEW

PRINCESS KITTY

Princess Kitty’s attendants throw a party in her honor. Ooh la la!

“My name is Princess Kitty. My attendants have only one job…taking care of ME! They know just what I need.” The orange puss’s attendants are Anna, her baby sibling, and their parents, a white family. Princess Kitty’s overblown narration expresses her perspective, but the illustrations tell another story. She lives in a palace (revealed to be a middle-class home), but she knows her ancestors used to be worshipped. Princess Kitty feels worshipped now. She discovers her attendants are throwing a party for her in a week’s time (readers see it’s actually a sixth birthday party for Anna). Each day Princess Kitty does something to prepare. Monday’s activity is ballet class (jumping from shelf to bed); Thursday’s is a massage (slightly too vigorous attention from baby brother); and Friday brings delicacies from afar (Chinese takeout). Princess Kitty’s guests (aka Anna’s friends) arrive on Saturday, and Princess Kitty manages, at least in her mind, to make it all about her. Metzger’s pampered Princess Kitty joins a long line of pets who see their lives slightly differently than their humans do. While Okstad’s bright, cartoon, digitally colored illustrations appropriately and humorously clash with Princess Kitty’s understanding, the contrast is not as broad nor the activities described as consistent as is necessary for real guffaws.

A far meow from purr-fectly original. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-230662-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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