SNOW FRIENDS

When boisterous pet dogs inadvertently play matchmaker for two children, a friendship is forged.

Snow is falling. Oscar the dog is ready for Matt, the White boy he lives with, to take him on a walk. Matt promises to do so later, but Oscar runs off. At a pond thick with ice, he meets Daisy, another dog so excited to be outside that she runs from the brown-skinned girl who had been holding her leash. With the action often divided into panels to accelerate the book’s pace, the dogs run and play vigorously in the snow. When Matt—now out of the house, looking for Oscar—and the girl finally locate their pets, they become fast friends, like their two dogs. The story is a pet-centric one: The dogs take the focus, and they don’t have owners. Instead, Matt is referred to as “[Oscar’s] boy,” and Daisy yelps, “My girl!” as she licks the girl’s face. Dog lovers may get a kick out of the way in which the dialogue is written: The dogs’ barks are translated, if you will, into English: “Let’s ice-skate!” yelps Daisy, and “Let’s build an igloo!” barks Oscar (a task they accomplish with ease with neither tools nor thumbs). There is an infectious exuberance underlying the story, one communicated in the opening spread (“Snow! Snow! And more snow!”) with drifts of snow building around Oscar’s house as well as in the tireless, curious energy of the dogs. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A joyous, wintry read. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-17131-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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