These kitties will win hearts with a glossy-eyed glance.

EMERGENCY KITTENS!

The power of cute is the only superpower these kitties need.

Are you in trouble? Just having a tough day? “Maybe you need a superhero! Someone muscly and fierce, possibly wearing tights. Or maybe you need… / EMERGENCY KITTENS!” Mimi, Twee-Twee, and Adorbs are three giant-eyed kittens in capes ready to help humans in a bind. They can catch a falling scoop of ice cream, hide a bad haircut, or rescue little children from trees, but not everyone knows about their services. Young Sheldon is beset by bullies who take his ball. Several superheroes come to his aid; they lift bulldozers and leap over buildings, but none of that helps until the EMERGENCY KITTENS (always set in all-caps) arrive. They roll and knead and chase and pounce and finally purr—no one can resist that. With the bullies distracted by their sheer adorableness, Sheldon easily gets his ball back! Through text and speech bubbles (and with tongue firmly planted in cheek), Shaffer mashes up felines and superheroes to giggle-inducing effect. Mottram’s colorful cartoon illustrations feature humans of many skin tones—Sheldon presents black—and his three furry warriors pack action and endearing antics on every page.

These kitties will win hearts with a glossy-eyed glance. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-3008-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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