Gorgeously whimsical and utterly convincing.

THE MIDNIGHT FAIR

What happens after the midway closes and rides shut down for the night?

Forest animals—deer, bears, squirrels, a stoat, a badger or two, a wolf, a fox, rabbits, mice—peer from the shadows of trees by the field where trucks arrive to set up the county fair. They watch from the edge of the woods as the fairground fills with humans who stay late into the evening. The families leave, the caretaker pulls a large switch, and the fairground is, for a moment, dark and empty. Only the silhouettes of the creatures can be seen against the dark forest, along with many pairs of glowing eyes, moving toward the now-quiet fairground. A lively after-hours adventure follows. Two raccoons flip the switch on as furry fairgoers bring mushrooms, wildflowers, pine cones, and acorns for payment. Di Giorgio interprets Sterer’s wordless tale in a rich, soft palette, with dramatic full openings and multiple detailed frames conveying the excitement, the lights, the smells of popcorn and fairground foods, the sounds of rides and riders. Even the harmless flames of the Dante’s Inferno ride seem fun. Animals whirl in teacups, ride the roller coaster under the moon, and leave at dawn, tired, happy, and a bit sticky. The wolf, at the edge of a lake, releases a goldfish won at the ring-toss booth. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gorgeously whimsical and utterly convincing. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1115-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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