DOCTOR DE SOTO

In this captivating story of a mouse dentist, Steig sets his stage according to the ludicrous logic of size discrepancy that intrigues children: to treat large animals (such as the pig shown), Dr. De Sore stands on a ladder; and for extra-large animals (a donkey is pictured), he is hoisted up on a pulley contraption by his wife/assistant. Then he gets right into his patients' mouths, "wearing rubbers to keep his feet dry." Understandably, Dr. De Soto refuses to treat animals dangerous to mice—not even "the most timid-looking cat." But one day when a well-dressed fox comes pleading with him to ease his pain, the De Sotos relent. And as the dentist works inside the fox's mouth, the patient goes from a lip-smacking dream under gas ("How I love them raw, with just a pinch of salt, and a dry white wine"). . . to wondering, after the first visit, "if it would be shabby of him to eat the De Sotos when the job was done" . . . to "I really shouldn't eat them. On the other hand, how can I resist?". . . to "definitely" making up his mind to eat them. But the De Sores, though compassionate, are no fools, and so they outfox the fox—coating his teeth with a final preventive treatment that is really glue. And so, with his jaw stuck shut (for just a day or two, the dentist assures him), the defeated fox stumbles down the stairs—which Steig, as a parting reference to the arrangements set forth at the beginning, has divided into the regular flight the fox is using and a narrower one of smaller steps. Simple but sly, a mischievously imaginative rendition of the classic theme.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 1982

ISBN: 0606146067

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1982

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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