A captivating, tender, and enjoyable genre winner for canine lovers.

THE ADVENTURES OF SURF DUDE

THE DOG OF OCHLOCKONEE BAY

A fictional autobiography focuses on a local Panacea, Florida, celebrity: a stray yellow dog who learns to depend on himself and the kindness of one special fan.

Surf Dude introduces himself in Andrews’ opening paragraph in lines that poignantly establish the emotional construct of the narrative’s protagonist: “I’m just your average yellow dog that once was loved, but became a drifter unexpectedly. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, perhaps a place where thunder, shotguns, fireworks, and mean people with cowboy boots don’t exist.” The canine was born in the woods of South Carolina. One fateful day, while his Mama was busy stalking prey, the pup was grabbed and tossed into a pickup truck by Leo, a large man wearing pointy boots. Leo drove home and threw the puppy into the lap of his girlfriend, Jorene. Despite his fear of humans, Leo in particular, the puppy became devoted to Jorene, who named him Honeybun and showered him with affection. Life changed the day Leo attacked Jorene. “I didn’t mean to do what I did,” Honeybun tells readers. “Jorene was my pack, and he was threatening her. I jumped up on the bed and sank my teeth into his forearm, right over his new tattoo.” It was time for Jorene and Honeybun to leave. They headed for the Florida Panhandle, where they spent several happy years in a campground trailer. Then tragedy struck, and Honeybun began his adventures as a loner wandering Surf Road. The articulate novel is based loosely on the real Surf Dude (thought to be a Carolina dog or a Carolina mix), who has inspired his own Facebook page and who still roams around Panacea and its environs, occasionally posing for photographs—if folks keep their distance. Andrews infuses her wily, resourceful pooch with a delightful, realistically canine interpretation of the world. She is a skillful storyteller, and her narrative engagingly mixes light humor, a bit of pathos, and assorted adventures with the compelling tale of Surf Dude’s cautiously evolving friendship with Russ, the older man who feeds him twice a day.

A captivating, tender, and enjoyable genre winner for canine lovers.

Pub Date: July 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947536-09-8

Page Count: 117

Publisher: Turtle Cove Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character.

SPOOKY POOKIE

One of Boynton's signature characters celebrates Halloween.

It's Halloween time, and Pookie the pig is delighted. Mom helps the little porker pick out the perfect Halloween costume, a process that spans the entire board book. Using an abcb rhyme scheme, Boynton dresses Pookie in a series of cheerful costumes, including a dragon, a bunny, and even a caped superhero. Pookie eventually settles on the holiday classic, a ghost, by way of a bedsheet. Boynton sprinkles in amusing asides to her stanzas as Pookie offers costume commentary ("It's itchy"; "It's hot"; "I feel silly"). Little readers will enjoy the notion of transforming themselves with their own Halloween costumes while reading this book, and a few parents may get some ideas as well. Boynton's clean, sharp illustrations are as good as ever. This is Pookie's first holiday title, but readers will surely welcome more.

A pleasant holiday spent with a perfectly charming character. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-553-51233-5

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Robin Corey/Random

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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