This will certainly have readers yearning for pet days at their own schools.

TAKE YOUR PET TO SCHOOL DAY

Devious pets change the school rule that bans them and experience a day of chaos and animal love.

The opening spread shows a child holding a letter stating pets will be welcome at school on Friday in one hand, a hedgehog in the other. Turn the page, and every student is arriving with an animal in tow (what about those without pets?). After each class with the animals, the teachers declare the rule change a disaster. Indeed, chaos reigns in the music room, the library, and the art studio. The principal, a brown-skinned woman with short, dark hair, agrees—she didn’t do it. But then, who did? “Meeoowww.” A neatly printed letter reads: “We do not like your ‘No Pets’ rule. / We miss our kids when they’re at school.” The note is signed “Pets.” The hopeful, pleading faces of the kids win the day—as long as the pets clean up their messes and behave—and the day is a success. But that doesn’t mean the pets’ plan to declare that every day be pet day will fly! Ashman’s verses are bouncy, and Kaufman’s brightly colored artwork will have readers poring over the details in her busy scenes and laughing at all the mischief. The people and their pets are diverse, especially the latter, which include an entire ant farm pulled in a red wagon, a hamster in a ball, a large snake, and a horse.

This will certainly have readers yearning for pet days at their own schools. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6559-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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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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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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