“MEEE-EW and the old guitar, / How PURRRR-fectly happy we are.” Sounds like a hit.

TABBY MCTAT, THE MUSICAL CAT

A musical cat—what’s better than that?

“Tabby McTat was a busker’s cat / With a meow that was loud and strong. / The two of them sang of this and that, / And people threw coins in an old checked hat.” One day, Tabby goes for a walk while Fred, the busker, eats his lunch, and Tabby meets a pretty, black kitty. When he returns, Fred is gone, so Sock, his new friend, gets her owners to take Tabby in. He loves his new situation, especially after kittens come along, but he misses Fred. Once the kitties are grown, Tabby sets off to find Fred, unknowingly tailed by his strong-voiced son, Samuel Sprat. Fred’s happy to see his buddy—but Tabby, ever the finicky feline, now misses Sock. What could the solution be? Gruffalo creators Donaldson and Scheffler join forces once again for this lighthearted tale of friendship and music. Donaldson’s lyrical verse reads like a song. Oldsters may see where the tale is headed, but young fans will be happily surprised. Scheffler’s round-eyed characters and bright colors in full-bleed and inset illustrations extend the story. Young listeners will enjoy spotting Samuel in the background as Tabby searches for Fred.

“MEEE-EW and the old guitar, / How PURRRR-fectly happy we are.” Sounds like a hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-45168-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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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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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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