An exuberant dog’s-eye view of friendship and forgiveness.

BEST DAY EVER!

An energetic puppy narrates a day with her boy.

In the morning, she licks the face of her “best friend,” a boy with light brown skin who uses a manual wheelchair, “glad that [they’re] a pair.” In quick, rhythmic rhymes, she bounds along—chasing a cat, stealing a Frisbee, snatching a hot dog from disgruntled pigeons, and scaring a snake—to the titular refrain: “Best day ever!” But the tune changes when she rolls on a “nice dead fish.” “Down, girl! You get off me! / Phewy, what’s that smell?” yells her boy as she gazes up with heart-meltingly mournful eyes. “Not the best day ever,” she laments as she endures a sudsy bath. And when she accidentally knocks over a lamp, her boy’s exasperation is finally too much: “Worst day ever.” Soon, however, the boy comforts the dejected pup, apologizing for shouting: “I know it wasn’t cool. / I think we need more lessons. / We’ll go to training school.” The friendship restored, a huge, jubilant “Best day ever!” arcs across a sunset-tinged double-page spread, the exclamation point finished off with a tennis ball the narrator has leapt to catch. Illustrator Nixon, herself a wheelchair user, captures the bond between boy and dog with bold lines, bright, sun-laced colors, and endearing expressions, tenderly demonstrating that love is unconditional—a message that will reassure readers as well as their furry friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An exuberant dog’s-eye view of friendship and forgiveness. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-98783-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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