SCUBA DOG

A dog finds a friend in an unlikely place. Can a dog and a whale be friends?

This dog likes the ocean, swimming, sailing his boat, and bobbing with the jellyfish. His dog friends like to jam and make music—but not to swim. One day he meets a whale. Though they share a love of the ocean, it’s not easy to be friends when he’s up and she’s down, and he can’t hold his breath. Back on land, he dreams, he draws, and he has an idea. He’s going to learn to scuba dive. He studies, he practices, he passes the test, and he gets his gear. Then it’s off to play with his friend. But not for long, as the whale needs to find food. While she’s gone, the dog prepares a hello surprise. He teaches his fellow dogs the whale’s song and makes a seaweed garland. After what seems like a very long wait, the whale eventually returns. Only it looks like she was gone for much more than food, as she returns with a baby! This uneven friendship story unfolds in short, choppy sentences that play mildly with internal rhyme and rhythm. Golden’s playful mixed-media illustrations (watercolors, pastels, and colored pencil) use a soft color palette nicely in tune with the story. Readers can’t help wondering, though, at what feels like a real imbalance in the protagonists’ friendship.

Sweet, uneven, and slight . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0143-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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