A seriously funny and delightfully nonlethal outing.


What can Fluffy do? Her cuteness is lethal!

“Fluffy McWhiskers [is] so cute that if you saw her… / you’d explode.” A lion, two snakes, an elephant, a koala all gaze upon her and…Kaboom! Because of this, she’s quite sad and lonely and determines to make herself less cute. She makes herself an ugly sweater. She gives herself a bad haircut. She even puts a scary bag on her head…“but that was ridiculously cute!” (Her goldfish explodes.) When the newspaper publishes her photo, animals everywhere explode; she hops a rocket to outer space—the aliens in a passing UFO explode. Next, she moves to a remote tropical island. No one explodes, but pizza delivery takes forever, and tummy scratches are nearly impossible. She makes some fruit friends…but then she gets hungry. One day she hears a bark, and she can’t find a place to hide—but when she’s face to face with a so-ugly-it’s-cute pug, the dog doesn’t explode! Moreover, the pug is confused that Fluffy doesn’t explode. They’re the perfect match…but passing cruise ships should beware! Martin’s foolish tale of a killer cutie-pie cat will have readers old and young exploding with laughter with its deadpan humor. Newcomer Tavis’ artwork with its rainbow clouds of exploding animals, all killed by cuteness overload, will multiply the laughs exponentially. Fluffy really is cute, resembling a purple powder puff with enormous eyes more than a cat. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A seriously funny and delightfully nonlethal outing. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4145-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?