While pet tales abound, this lively look at making the best of a bad situation highlights humor and encourages creativity,...

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MY DOG'S A CHICKEN

A young girl finds an imaginative way to satisfy her desire for a pet dog despite her parents’ objections.

Lula Mae lives on a farm with her family. She wants a puppy, but her mother points out “Dog’s just another mouth to feed. These are hard times, Lula Mae.” Her mother’s admonition, repeated by her baby brother, to “make do” inspires her to consider adopting one of the family’s chickens as her canine companion. So she clips a big red bow onto the comb of a spunky, black-and-white spotted chicken that she christens Pookie and commences to crow about her talents. Lula Mae’s parents are unimpressed by Pookie’s performance as a show dog, sheepdog, and guard dog, but the whole family appreciates her efforts at search and rescue when Baby Berry goes missing. Debut author Montanari’s text has an engagingly twangy conversational tone though some may find the family’s irregular, down-home grammar more annoying than endearing. Wilsdorf’s cheerful ink-and-watercolor art focuses on the fun in energetic single-page, double-page, and spot illustrations balanced by plenty of white space. Her depiction of the unflappable Lula Mae, a smiling round-headed white tot, is pleasingly reminiscent of the work of William Steig.

While pet tales abound, this lively look at making the best of a bad situation highlights humor and encourages creativity, enriching the somewhat predictable plot. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-38490-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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