Children will love Charley and Grampa, too.

WHEN CHARLEY MET GRAMPA

Picking up where Charley’s First Night (2012) ended, the tale of Charley and Henry Korn continues in this charming stand-alone storybook.

Now that new-puppy Charley has settled in, Henry writes to Grampa to tell him all about Charley and to invite Grampa to visit. With elegant simplicity, the premise is revealed: Grampa agrees to come but states that he has never been friends with a dog before. The ensuing action takes place when Henry and Charley go off through the snow to pick up Grampa from the village train station. As before, Hest’s language is descriptive and lyrical: “ ‘Wait till you meet Grampa,’ I told Charley, and he danced in the wind and his ears blew back and I pulled my sled for Grampa’s suitcase.” Oxenbury’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are enchanting, perfectly capturing the town, Henry and Charley’s trek, and their anxious wait at the station. With a WHOOOOO WHOOOOOOOO, the train finally arrives. Although Charley and Grampa look at each other a long time, and Charley even smiles, it is not at all certain they will be friends until, in a tense, dramatic moment, Charley effects the heroic rescue of Grampa’s windblown hat through the ever-deepening snow. One moment changes everything. That night, Charley and Grampa look into each other’s eyes again, this time telegraphing, “I love you.”

Children will love Charley and Grampa, too. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5314-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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