Subtle lessons about entering a new and unfamiliar territory, finding companions, and the value of a friendly, approachable...

GOOD ROSIE!

A lonely, brown-and-white terrier named Rosie learns how to stand up to a bully and how to make new friends in this understated, gently humorous story.

Rosie lives with her owner, George, a middle-aged, balding man with glasses and suspenders and a rather staid lifestyle. Though Rosie loves George, she would really like to meet another dog, so on their daily walks they begin visiting a dog park. At first Rosie doesn’t know how to make friends, but a tiny, bouncy dog named Fifi teaches Rosie and a blustery Saint Bernard named Maurice how it’s done. Rosie’s journey takes her from loneliness through fear and bravery and then on to joyous companionship with her new pals. By the conclusion, the three dogs are running and playing together, and George is chatting with two women on a park bench, making friends of his own. George is white, and two of the other dog owners are people of color. Each of the three dogs has a distinct personality, conveyed both in the succinct text and in engaging watercolor illustrations laid out in panels of different configurations as well as some full-page illustrations. Cartoonist Bliss’ humor shines as it works with DiCamillo’s understated text.

Subtle lessons about entering a new and unfamiliar territory, finding companions, and the value of a friendly, approachable attitude are all conveyed with a delicate touch. Good Rosie—good story. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8979-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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KNIGHT OWL

A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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