This offers lots of commercial appeal with a clever text, polished illustrations, a princess in pink, and a cuddly-cute dog,...

QUEEN DOG

A coddled French bulldog rules her household like a queen until a baby arrives in the family.

An extended textual metaphor of a pampered pooch as a royal character is the premise of this cleverly constructed but predictable story. The dog is treated like a princess as a puppy and receives the name Queen Dog along with a crown and a ruffled Elizabethan collar. The text describes the dog’s behavior as events in a royal household, while the illustrations show corresponding scenes in modern settings. For example, leading “her people on quests for great treasure” shows the dog chasing a garbage truck, and organizing “royal hunts” depicts Queen Dog chasing a squirrel. The dog’s white owners are her servants, until a small “visitor” (also white) arrives, and Queen Dog’s world changes. At first the dog is jealous of the new addition to the household, but eventually Queen Dog becomes protective of the new “princess-in-training,” as well as her loyal friend. The story keys in to the popular princess theme with the baby’s name: Princess Catherine (as in the Duchess of Cambridge). Cheery illustrations in a pastel palette have a greeting-card prettiness tailored for younger preschool-age children. However, the nuances of the dog-as-queen metaphor require an understanding of historical royal life beyond the background knowledge of the intended audience, and the capacity to follow the intended disparity between text and illustrations is a sophisticated one.

This offers lots of commercial appeal with a clever text, polished illustrations, a princess in pink, and a cuddly-cute dog, but the overall effort is forgettable. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2852-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.

GOLDIE'S GUIDE TO GRANDCHILDING

While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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