Lighthearted entertainment just right for storytime.

OCTOPUS ESCAPES!

After the aquarium closes for the night, an adventurous octopus pushes out of its tank to visit neighbors, leaving the guard to clean up its mess.

This engaging, anthropomorphic fantasy includes a short afterword referring not only to the relatively recent octopus escape from the National Aquarium of New Zealand, but to one in England in the 1870s and adding interesting facts about these aquarium stars. While on the lam, the titular Octopus (no gender) playfully threatens crabs and fish, splashes with penguins, steals the otters’ ball to bowl at the approaching guard, is almost caught by a shark, inks, hides, and hurries back to safe shelter in its tank before morning. The simple text (two or three words on a page) relies on cleverly chosen vocabulary, onomatopoeia, and rhyming active verbs—“Octopus peeks. / Octopus streaks. // Octopus smoosh! / Octopus whoosh!”—with other sound effects incorporated into the pictures. Dormer’s engaging illustrations, done in ink with digital color, employ a simple black line. Human skin tones vary; the guard has a greenish yellow face. The octopus’s eyes are correctly placed in its midsection along with an (imagined) expressive smile. Other sea creatures include a sea turtle parent and child who find the octopus antics as amusing as young readers and listeners will.

Lighthearted entertainment just right for storytime. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-795-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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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