Dubuc’s delightful domestic dramas will entertain children and adults alike.

YOUR HOUSE, MY HOUSE

One day’s worth of activities—and some special events—in the lives of various anthropomorphized animals sharing an apartment building are described and displayed in this French-Canadian import.

Each double-page spread, beginning with the cover, shows a cutaway view of the four-story building. Two to four sentences per view offer dialogue and descriptions, with much of the straightforward text centering on the Rabbit family. Several parallel narratives are briefly referred to though they occur primarily in the illustrations. Friends and family celebrate Little Rabbit’s birthday; the Cat family moves in; Mr. Bear is sick in bed; the Fox family welcomes a new member; Little Hedgehog eagerly awaits his father’s return; the “rascally Mouse triplets” raise havoc; an owl attempts to get a good day’s rest; and a mischievous little ghost takes an unexpected trip to the first floor before returning to the dark attic. In addition, several fairy-tale characters make cameo appearances, and a bird family has their own little adventure, providing even more reasons to pore over the pictures. Pastel colors and a relatively limited palette give the detailed illustrations, reminiscent of Allan Ahlberg’s and Richard Scarry’s, a light touch and keep them from feeling too busy. The cozy setting and the characters’ smiling faces and round red cheeks help to set the cheerful tone and make the friendly coexistence of predators and prey believable. (This book was reviewed digitally with 14-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Dubuc’s delightful domestic dramas will entertain children and adults alike. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0490-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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