Welcome Little Jumbo! We hope we’ll see more of you.

HOW TO CHEER UP DAD

In Koehler’s picture-book debut, Little Jumbo repeatedly tries the patience of his dad but then does his best to make everything better.

Before the story starts, readers know that Dad is in for it. The title page shows a slumbering, pajama-clad elephant about to be pounced on by his son, who is already in midair. On the copyright page, Dad rushes to stop the tyke from consuming a spoonful of paste. So readers will understand the opening line: “Little Jumbo’s dad was having a bad day.” The understated text is paired with the irrepressible son’s antics throughout, maintaining a constant level of hilarity. One spread’s matter-of-fact text reads, “Dad put raisins in Little Jumbo’s oatmeal. / He should have known what a mess that would make.” The accompanying illustration depicts spunky and joyous Little Jumbo standing on his chair and peppering the ceiling with a splatter of rejected raisins. Dad has had enough—the two elephants have a standoff trunk to trunk. One timeout later, the young elephant starts trying to change the mood of his father. From a hug to playing catch, sharing a huge ice cream cone, fishing and reading a bedtime story, Little Jumbo sincerely does his best to make up for his behavior—but the final page makes it clear that the challenges will continue tomorrow.

Welcome Little Jumbo! We hope we’ll see more of you. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3922-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE 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 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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