THE BARKING BALLAD

A BARK-ALONG MEOW-ALONG BOOK

An interactive, melodic adventure involving an unlikely pair.

Following instructions at the start, readers are requested to participate by making a barking sound anytime a red circle appears and meowing anytime there is a yellow diamond. It is, after all, a “bark-along, meow-along book.” Inspired by Oliver Goldsmith’s “An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog” (from which it lifts one complete stanza and also the poem’s rhythm), the tale begins with a stray cat in a neighborhood of many dogs. The cat is hiding, stealthy, until one dog sniffs her out. This black pup, whose fur, rendered in Paschkis’ characteristic folk-art style, resembles a Renaissance ruff collar, just wants to play. In an abrupt turn of events (that takes its lead from its elegiac form), “One day a rock fell from above / and knocked the dog near dead. // With tender tongue and gentle love / the cat repaired his head.” After that, the duo becomes inseparable (the barking and meowing prompts, which were at first individual, are now combined). In a rousing cacophonous finale, “A hundred barks ring through the park” (red circles cover the page) “and one small stray meow” (a tiny yellow diamond conclusion). A large storytime crowd may not be able to see the symbols, but a clever leader can still orchestrate the group, and it will be great fun in a lap with pre-readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Anything but ruff. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9260-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more