Perky tale of perseverance and problem-solving.


Discouraged by their inability to dance, ants resort to what they do best.

Waiting for a picnic lunch, ants hear music and try to dance, but with three sticky left feet (why their right feet are not sticky is never explained), they can’t swing, shimmy, shrug, or even dance the jitterbug. Toting picnic remains in a long, straight line, the ants encounter a squirrel shaking her tail. The ants ask the squirrel to teach them dance moves, but they can’t shake, twist, or twirl. Marching along and building a bridge across a puddle, the ants meet a beaver waving its paws. They ask the beaver for some dance tips, but they can’t clap, tap, or jig. Marching into the woods and digging an anthill, the ants encounter a bird with flapping feathers. They ask the bird for guidance, but they can’t dip, flip, or fly. They are ready to abandon their dancing dream until one ant suggests they dance as a team. The jaunty, rhyming text creates forward momentum, echoing the relentless ant procession across the pages in lines. Rendered in brilliant hues, the comic illustrations track the bug-eyed, blue ants in their striped turtlenecks from ground-level close-ups to aerial views of them line dancing in formation. Their hilarious facial expressions capture frustrations and angst when they can’t seem to dance and sheer joy when they precision perform like Rockettes.

Perky tale of perseverance and problem-solving. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5037-5713-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “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 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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