Misunderstandings, slapstick, and giant poo…what more could a young reader want?

BAD PANDA

Cursed with cuteness, all Lin the panda wants to do is be bad.

Even though Lin’s cuddliness won her a spot at the city zoo the other pandas covet, she just wants to return to the panda sanctuary and play with her beloved (though doltish) older brother, Face-Like-A-Bag-Of-Potatoes. She and her new panda friend Fu decide that if being a good panda got her to the zoo, being a bad panda will get her sent back. Lin’s first hurdle is Fu, as he is too kind to be a bad panda along with her. Lin decides scaring pigeons is a good first step, but the pigeons aren’t afraid of cute Lin, and the humans think she’s so cute trying to scare the pigeons, they take photos. When she tries to scare off all the visitors at the main gate, they snap more photos of her trying to be scary. She enlists the help of Malo, a capuchin monkey. Will any of their plans succeed? (Hint: Don’t call her a “fluffy-wuffy bear.”) Creators of the Dave Pigeon series, popular overseas, Haddow and Dempsey kick off a new series of giggle-out-loud early chapter books with this introduction to Lin and her cuteness problem. The easy-reading text retains its original British spelling and punctuation along with the occasional criticism. Dempsey’s two-color vignettes and comics panels illustrate the silliness.

Misunderstandings, slapstick, and giant poo…what more could a young reader want? (Animal fantasy. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-571-35241-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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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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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Mancomics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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