Readers who’ve already met the endearing Bailey will be glad to see he’s back and look forward to further exploits; new...

BAILEY AT THE MUSEUM

In his second outing, Bailey, the totally typical early-elementary student who just happens to be a spotted dog, enjoys a field trip and finds a new friend.

Bliss doesn’t break new ground in this low-key adventure, but his sly humor and smooth writing style make it an utterly enjoyable outing. Bailey eagerly anticipates the school trip and has no trouble finding a partner; following the rules, however, is more challenging. Whether taking a detour to drink from the decorative fountain, napping in a teepee or scampering up a dinosaur’s skeleton to gnaw on a bone, Bailey goes (mildly) rogue in most amusing fashion. The latter excursion brings him a new buddy—the museum guard who cheerfully ensures that none of his escapades end unpleasantly. One key to Bailey’s charm is Bliss’ utterly deadpan humor. Though Bailey's behavior is decidedly canine, none of the humans suggest by word or deed that having a dog in class is anything out of the ordinary. Clever visual jokes enhance the appeal. Bailey’s partner, an obviously enthusiastic reader, has two books on the seat beside her: A Book, by Author, and Another Book, by Different Author; a classmate peruses The New Yorkshire.

Readers who’ve already met the endearing Bailey will be glad to see he’s back and look forward to further exploits; new acquaintances will surely search for his well-received debut. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-23345-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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