Giggle-inducing buffoonery; but thankfully, bigger rivals don’t get the last laugh.

NOT YOUR NEST!

A tiny yellow bird has just finished building a nest, but other animals in the savanna think it looks like a good place to rest, too.

The design has been planned. The twigs gathered. One last leaf and the nest will be complete. But as the yellow bird flies happily toward the tree, a larger bird is already there. “You can build another,” says the bully of a bird. “I guess I could…” says the tiny, crestfallen bird. So plans are made again. Twigs are gathered. One last leaf—and suddenly there’s a fennec in the nest! Each attempt to build a cozy home brings a more absurd animal to the tree. A warthog, a gorilla, an elephant, and more balance precariously as they settle in, each with their own sound reason as to why the dwelling suits them. Frustrated and exhausted, the yellow bird finally finds some powerful help to knock everyone out of the tree. But maybe there is a way to share after all. Tsurumi’s expressive animals (sometimes uppity, sometimes sheepish—all forming a dejected, collective slump when they realize how they’ve treated their friend) definitely rule the roost. Laid out in mostly double-page spreads and with wry text set entirely in speech balloons, the visual storytelling easily engages readers, perhaps most impressively as the little bird scowls with determination, perched on a wildebeest’s horns as it charges directly at readers.

Giggle-inducing buffoonery; but thankfully, bigger rivals don’t get the last laugh. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2827-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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