The genuine love expressed between owner and pet fortifies the responsibilities Patch’s owner undertakes.


A young child is confident a new puppy will adhere to newly learned rules on a first outing beyond the backyard fence.

The unnamed, pigtailed, bespectacled narrator is patient yet strict with their new dog, Patch, named for the black splotch over one eye. They practice the commands of “sit,” “down,” and “stay” (a hard one) to prepare. Once they open the gate and venture out, the leashed Patch is quite excited to encounter butterflies, bugs, and muddy puddles. The highlight of the walk is when they meet Benny, a little boy with his new puppy, a much larger, shaggy canine called Smallfry. “The two puppies leap…and roll…and tussle.” After untangling their leashes, Patch and her owner walk home for a cleanup, some water, and a nap. Fundamentals of puppy training and pet ownership are the underlying themes that give structure to this rather bland storyline—both Benny and the narrator are careful to disclose that their pups have had their shots before allowing them to play, for instance. Carter supplies attractive illustrations done with colored pencil, watercolor, and digital media against a stark white background. The narrator presents white and Benny black; the narrator’s jewel-toned, print dress is especially attractive.

The genuine love expressed between owner and pet fortifies the responsibilities Patch’s owner undertakes. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77278-080-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.


Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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