Tom is full of curiosity, like a lot of young’uns. Not bad at all.

BAD DOG

From the I Like To Read series

A preschool-age boy narrates this short early reader, a straightforward story about a mischievous dog and the boy who loves him.

The brown-and-white dog, Tom, creates problems wherever he goes. He yanks the tablecloth and sends the dinner to the floor. He leaves fleas in the parents’ bed. He knocks over the flat-screen TV during Dad’s football game. Tom even lifts his leg on Mom’s special sunflowers. Worst of all, he irks the family cat, Kit, who one night escapes. Tom is threatened with eviction from the family but is redeemed when he helps the boy see where Kit is hiding. This short but complete story is told in succinct sentences with just a few words per page, often the repeated admonishment “Bad dog, Tom!” set in a speech balloon. Though this is intended for new readers, toddlers who are just transitioning into real stories will also appreciate the simple plot with its subtle message of unconditional love that endures even when someone is naughty. McPhail’s gentle illustrations in pen and ink with watercolor washes are appealing as always, conveying both humor and emotion. Not every artist can convincingly portray a mother’s surprise, a cat’s frazzlement and a dog’s laughter all in one illustration.

Tom is full of curiosity, like a lot of young’uns. Not bad at all. (Early reader. 2-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2852-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 32

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

more