Just the ticket for children transitioning to chapters.


From the Adventures of Pug series , Vol. 1

Pug and Lady Miranda have a seafaring adventure…in a manner of speaking.

Lady Miranda, who lives at No. 10, The Crescent, has a birthday party to attend at the boating lake according to Wendy, the housekeeper. Lady Miranda decides that Pug will attend in a captain’s uniform; though Pug would rather stay home and eat jam tarts, he wants to please Lady Miranda. Running Footman Will and Running Footman Liam, dressed in their old-fashioned costumes, carry Lady Miranda and Capt. Pug to the lake in a sedan chair. Due to an enticing picnic basket that harbors the possibility of more jam tarts, Capt. Pug finds himself separated from Lady Miranda. He formulates a brilliant plan to reunite with her: become such a famous sea captain that she’ll hear about him and find him. But first he must overcome his fear of water! James’ ostentatiously English debut and series starter offers likable characters in sweet, devoted, and clueless Pug and his privileged young white mistress (no parents in evidence here); their silly, simple adventure is sure to please young Anglophiles (and pugophiles). French illustrator Ceulemans’ plentiful, Eloise-esque, two-color illustrations are expressive and endearing.

Just the ticket for children transitioning to chapters. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-380-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Hee haw.

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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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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.


Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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