Princess and Darryl need a sequel.

PRINCESS PUFFYBOTTOM…AND DARRYL

Princess Puffybottom’s purrrrfect life is spoiled by a puppy named Darryl.

Fluffy, black kitty Princess Puffybottom’s two female “subjects” pamper her appropriately. They feed her yummy meals (even if they sometimes need reminding) and take care of “delicate matters” (litterbox, you know). Princess Puffybottom indulges their whims, the petting and the play, until they surprise her with Darryl, a dog! “He was horrible. He was disgusting. He was an animal!” Illustrating this in sequential vignettes, Darryl eats a sock, vomits it up, and eats it again. The princess tries everything from hypnosis to sabotage to rid herself of Darryl, but nothing works. Her subjects notice nothing of her shenanigans—they seem preoccupied with other matters. Eventually familiarity does its work. Yes, Darryl’s annoying, but Princess Puffybottom finds he has uses (such as liberating tasty morsels from the trash), and he does worship her, so life’s “good again. At least her subjects wouldn’t be bringing home any more surprises.” Readers, however, will have noticed that what her two subjects—a black woman and an Asian woman—have been occupied with in the background are preparations for a baby. Nielsen’s tale and Mueller’s digitally created pooch and puss pair perfectly, the princess acting as a nice stand-in for a pampered first child. The light touch of humor and twist at the end make this a must for storytime collections.

Princess and Darryl need a sequel. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-91925-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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