Simple illustrations convey a simple truth: children love to run wild! (Picture book. 3-7)

PETUNIA GOES WILD

Petunia decides she’s more animal than girl (RARH!).

Human behavior requires too much structure: cleanliness, clothing, combing, quiet. Petunia enacts all these banalities, all these “hafta[s],” in an effective spread of c-sounds and frowny-faces. Tiny expressions relay her utter exhaustion with people rules (as well as her joy in running bare-bottomed!). Children will empathize, as they know what it’s like to have a wild impulse crushed for millionth time. Careful! After gobbling breakfast off the floor, growling at neighbors and bathing in a mud puddle, Petunia asks to become the family pet, helpfully holding up a leash and collar. Her parents’ response suffocates an entire page, filling it with fuming type and angry large letters that gradually dwindle in size but not quantity. This visual tune-out of a parental rant works well optically and rings true to young ears, too. Schmid’s suggestive charcoal drawings and purple watercolor accents enjoy lots of white space and clever compositional placement. A mellow orange highlights the animal kingdom (Petunia’s pinned-on tiger tail, stuffed animals and the scrawled words MAIL TO AFRICA on a child-sized box). Her mother’s singing in the kitchen draws Petunia back to her human house, but readers sense Petunia will always remain a little feral.

Simple illustrations convey a simple truth: children love to run wild! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-196334-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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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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