Powell-Tuck nails it: it was your fun; now it is your mess. Do the right thing, which is the doorway to more fun.

THE MESSY BOOK

As reliable as the muezzin’s call are the four words that echo in every child’s ear: pick up this mess!

“I’ve made a mess,” says the cat, not without a hint of pride. The dog is not so sure: “Maybe you should clean it up.” Powell-Tuck’s dog has an innate sense of tidiness, and her cat would be hard-pressed to think of something more boring than cleaning up. The cat tries shoving the mess—a rather gay collage of a mess, as Smythe presents it, much like the remains of a stack of glossy magazines once a hamster is through with them—but the neighbors are not inclined to house the mess, nor are the denizens of the ocean when the cat tries to sink the mess. “And now the mess is soggy,” notes the dog. The cat ponders: “We could hide the mess under my bed…or blow it up…or eat it.” Enough, says the dog. When the vacuum cleaner explodes from excess capacity, cat agrees to just plain pick the stuff up. Which calls for a party. Which results in another mess. The book is a good laugh, but it is also fundamentally provocative: is making a mess worth the consequences? Of course it is.

Powell-Tuck nails it: it was your fun; now it is your mess. Do the right thing, which is the doorway to more fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-037-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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

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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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