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


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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