Feline fanatics will happily chant along.


Any cat will tell you, all cats are perfect!

“Cats, / cats, / cats. / I love cats!” A brown-skinned girl with her dark hair in a yellow bow expresses her love of felines of every stripe and type. She loves big ones and small ones, thin ones and fat ones. “Hairy cats, / scaredy-cats. / Angry cats, / cool cats.” She loves cats that hop and cats that flop. She loves cats that stand on people’s heads and cats that stay in bed. Everywhere she turns as she walks through a town full of other people reacting (mostly in dismay) to the abundance of active cats, she sees a different kind of cat; and she loves them all. “Cats in your pocket, / cats in the drawer. / cats in the kitchen, / cats at the door. // Cats are friends, / cats are mates. / Cuddly cats or crazy cats… // Cats are great!” British author Stainton follows her I Love Dogs! (2014) with the obligatory companion for the kitty cat set. Staake teams with her again to provide the bright, digitally created, full-bleed cartoon illustrations of green and red and spotted (and plaid!) cats enacting the little girl’s rhymed paean to pusses. The frenetically goofy visual narrative ends with her parents handing her a little, gray kitten of her very own.

Feline fanatics will happily chant along. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-243882-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Hee haw.

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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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