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

VINNY GETS A JOB

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more