Humorous and endearing, worth sharing with human and furry friends alike.



When a new dog comes into Tim’s life, his canine best friend, Tuffy, is left wondering where he stands.

“Tuffy loved Tim. And Tim loved Tuffy.” However, Tim also loves Ultra Dog, “the ultra-est dog in the universe!” He loves everything about Ultra Dog: the TV show, books, games, and apparel—even the underwear. Despite Tim’s obsession with the fictional pooch, however, Tuffy is still pretty sure that Tim loves him, until the neighbor cat begins sowing seeds of doubt. With the cherished relationship in question, Tuffy tries to prove he is as worthy of Tim’s love and attention as Ultra Dog. He strives to be the most obedient, most helpful, most affectionate dog a kid could ask for. The ultra-est, even. When Tuffy’s attempts to impress ultimately backfire, he learns the true depth of Tim’s love and friendship. Truly, a dog is a boy’s best friend, and the feeling is mutual. Utilizing comic conventions, including speech bubbles and paneled illustrations, Hanmer’s bright and dynamic visuals add energy and physical comedy to Tuffy’s anxious attempts to secure his friendship. Wilson’s plot is sure to entertain, but it will also resonate on a deeper level with anyone who has ever felt envious of a new friend, sibling, or pet. Tim and his parents share the same straight, black hair and tan skin; Tim wears his hair long, in pleasing defiance of gender norms.

Humorous and endearing, worth sharing with human and furry friends alike. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-318-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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