PUG & PIG TRICK-OR-TREAT

From the Pug & Pig series

A costume kerfuffle may ruin Pig’s celebration of Halloween, but Pug’s quick thinking saves the day.

Pug and Pig have matching costumes for Halloween: tight-fitting black suits with glowing bones. Pig adores hers. Pug decidedly does not; he shreds it all over the yard. But while Pug doesn’t really care about the holiday, Pig cares very much. Whom will she share the day with? In a marvelous spread that shows Pug leaping off the easy chair and heading out the doggy door, Wan captures the dog’s emotions: sympathy for his sad friend, the spark of an idea, and determination to carry it out. He heads to the muddy corner of the yard and suddenly becomes Pig’s shadow, brown mud covering all of him except for an oval “mask” around his eyes. Together the best friends answer the door and pass out treats, go trick-or-treating, and enjoy the Halloween party. The final scene of the two, still in costume and snuggled in their house, is as satisfying as it gets. Gallion’s tale works on many different levels: as a look at clever problem-solving and compromise, as a friendship story, and as a text suitable for early readers, with plenty of repetition, simple vocabulary, and short sentences. Wan’s pencil-and-digital illustrations support all of this with spare backgrounds, simple details, and a focus on the friends’ relationship.

Delightful. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4977-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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