Droll humor, an unusual design, and an appealing main character add up to a funny addition to the canon of canines adjusting...

POOR LOUIE

A pampered Chihuahua gradually realizes its owners are preparing for an impending arrival in the family.

Little Louie enjoys a pleasant, predictable life with Mom and Dad, who are white, as they meet the pup’s every need. Louie eats at the table with them, sleeps in their bed, and enjoys being at the center of their attention. Things begin to change with the visits of friends with babies, and then Mom begins to grow visibly larger in the belly region. New purchases are made, with matching sets of each item, such as little beds, sweaters, and hats. When Louie spies a double stroller, the conclusion seems inevitable: twins must be on the way. After an unsuccessful attempt at running away, Louie is pleased to meet just one new “baby brother.” In the final scene, Louie and the baby are shown together in the stroller wearing matching hats and sweaters. Fluid, line-and-color illustrations in pencil and watercolor use a sophisticated palette of gray or white backgrounds with minimal color accents. An extra-large trim size allows for a pleasing variety of illustration perspectives, including two huge, double-page spreads with laugh-out-loud views of Louie being kicked by the then–in utero baby and imagining the arrival of twins. Fucile’s background as a feature film animator is evident in the comedic pacing and polished, understated composition of scenic constructions.

Droll humor, an unusual design, and an appealing main character add up to a funny addition to the canon of canines adjusting to new babies. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5828-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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