A quirky, funny tale with an unsurprising but satisfying ending that involves the couch.


A French bulldog named Vinny tries to get his first job, with humorous results.

Vinny lives in a big-city row house with his owner, a young white woman he calls Mom, and his “adopted brother,” a cat called Lester. The cat explains that Mom is gone all day at her job, so Vinny decides to get a job too. He puts on his best clothes, dressing in a bow tie, red plaid jacket, trousers, and a hat, so he has the look of a properly dressed—if very short—gentleman. Vinny finds three jobs in all: cleaning tables at a restaurant, watering plants at a flower shop, and guarding a dinosaur skeleton in a museum. Each job is misinterpreted, Amelia Bedelia–fashion, as Vinny slurps up leftovers at the restaurant, lifts his leg on the flower pots, and runs off with the dinosaur’s leg bone before he finally finds his métier. The silly but funny story requires willing suspension of disbelief regarding Vinny’s prior knowledge, wardrobe, access to the city, and ease in acquiring employment, but it reads as a believably humorous fantasy. Illustrations with a retro vibe use pastel backgrounds that set off Vinny’s bold, plaid coat. Two wordless, double-page spreads show a circular map of Vinny’s neighborhood with all the locations the dog visits. The human characters include people of different racial presentations and ages.

A quirky, funny tale with an unsurprising but satisfying ending that involves the couch. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1356-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Hee haw.

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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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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...


Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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