MY DOG TOBY

Meet Toby, an adorable beagle who constantly endears himself to his owner despite the fact that Toby won’t cooperate with her plans to teach him a trick . . . any trick. Toby is great at normal dog things—he eats messily, knocks things over, and scratches with the best of them, but ask him to fetch, roll over, or beg, and he’ll look at his owner with a befuddled and perplexed expression. The narrator bemoans the fact that her friends’ dogs shake hands, bring in the newspaper, and dance—Michael’s French poodle even plays soccer. But Toby’s owner never gives up. She tries talking to Toby in several foreign languages (in case a language barrier has been the problem all along) and even talks to him in dog: “woof awooooo ark ark grrff ruff!” Nothing works though, so she just goes back to saying “sit” several times a day. Finally, one day, Toby comes through and . . . yes . . . sits! In a funny double-page spread in which Toby takes up most of the two pages, the text reads simply “Toby sat!” Toby’s owner is happy, but keeps things in perspective—she’ll always love Toby even if he never learns another trick. Toby is a lovable and goofy dog in the tradition of Martha in Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh or Boodil My Dog by Pija Lindenbaum. The illustrations are charmingly and humorously done in watercolors, acrylics, and pen and ink. A thoroughly delightful story by the authors of the also delightful Trashy Town (1999). (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-15-202014-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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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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