What makes it all worthwhile? Getting “your ears scratched in just the right place.” (Picture book. 5-8)

RAYMOND

A dog explores a career in journalism, then decides there are better things (for a dog) to do.

It all begins when Raymond, a happy dog lavished with TLC, has “a rather BIG thought for a dog” and decides to join his human family at the dinner table. This behavior naturally leads to “cappuchino-and-cupcake Saturdays at the café,” a successful job interview at DOGUE magazine, and, after a spell as “rover-ing reporter,” celebrity status on the Dog News channel. The cartoon-style illustrations surround Raymond, a chocolate-brown spaniel, with diverse casts of urban dogs and people—the latter led by his mixed-race human clan—as he goes from interviews and editorial meetings to frantic pre-broadcast makeup sessions. Ultimately, though, it all becomes “a bit too much,” and after rediscovering the pleasures of chasing a ball, having his belly scratched, and getting his paws dirty with digging, he concludes that work can wait on the sort of “dog’s life” that combines such play with cozy get-togethers on the sofa.

What makes it all worthwhile? Getting “your ears scratched in just the right place.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8950-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Hee haw.

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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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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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