See this book fly off the shelves.

SEE THE DOG

THREE STORIES ABOUT A CAT

A cat takes a sick dog’s place as the protagonist of three silly stories.

In the same vein as predecessor See the Cat (2020), LaRochelle and Wohnoutka’s latest collaboration plays out as a running argument between narrator and animal character. When the verso text reads “See the dog,” a blue cat appears on the recto. The cat declares via speech bubble that they’ve been asked to take the dog’s place because he is sick. At first, the cat revels in the make-believe—with a few slip-ups. But the narrator’s asks are met with resistance when the cat’s comfort zone is crossed. In Story Number One, the cat listens to the “bossy book” and digs—albeit using an excavator. The narrator abruptly interrupts the cat’s fun with a “See the dog STOP digging holes!” In Story Number Two, the cat begrudgingly jumps into the lake (which is really more of a pond) and immediately yells for help. Story Number Three puts the cat in charge of protecting a sheep from a wolf. The playful rebellion against the repetitive Dick-and-Jane pattern makes for nonstop, rip-roaring fun. Using around 130 words and their variants, the careful yet deliciously over-the-top writing keeps the text accessible yet engaging. Wohnoutka’s full-color cartoon illustrations hilariously accentuate the cat’s histrionics. While most illustrations appear solely on the recto, a few well-placed double-page spreads add some delightful surprises.

See this book fly off the shelves. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1629-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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