COWBOY PUG

From the Adventures of Pug series

Captain Pug (2017) found he wasn’t the best sailor. Maybe he’ll have more luck as a cowboy!

Young Lady Miranda is out in the garden at No. 10. The Crescent with her pug dog, Pug, and her stick horse, Pony, chasing away bandits (pigeons) when Pony suffers an injury (his stick breaks). Running Footman Will and Running Footman Liam and Wendy the housekeeper come to help. Lady Miranda decides she needs a new horse, and Running Footman Will and Running Footman Liam carry her in the sedan chair to do some horse trading. At the stable they meet Frank, a “real-life cowboy,” the magic-trick–obsessed son of the stable owner. Lady Miranda and Cowboy Pug test-ride Horsey, Frank’s old horse, and find themselves in the back of Frank’s father’s trailer headed for the Little Witherington County Fair. Frank and the Running Footmen set off in pursuit…but their pursuit catches the attention of Maud, a new police officer on patrol. When real-life cattle rustlers get involved and a runaway bull rampages through the fair, whatever will happen? James’ second chapter-book adventure starring Pug is another fun read, juxtaposing highly unlikely elements (livery-clad footman and a sedan chair!) against a modern English setting. Ceulemans’ three-color, cartoon line drawings of the little lady and her lazy pug reveal that the primary cast is white, though the England they inhabit is realistically diverse.

Loopy but fun. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-824-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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