Books by Barbara Jean Hicks

MONSTERS DON’T EAT BROCCOLI by Barbara Jean Hicks
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 11, 2009

"Fum, foe, fie, fee, monsters don't eat broccoli," but it turns out that they do eat all of the other things depicted on Hendra's opening endpapers, and more: wheels, ships, boulders, buildings and rockets. Oh—and they also savor trees, remarking that "redwoods are delectable," and later referring to "a clump of giant maples and their yummy, gummy bark…" The book's punch line is that the monsters are actually imaginative children pretending that the foods on their plates are all of the things listed in the text and depicted in the illustrations. The penultimate double-page spread reveals that the imagined buildings are Swiss cheese slices, rocket ships are carrot sticks, wheels are sliced tomatoes and trees are, you guessed it, broccoli. The vibrant gouache illustrations capture the silly playfulness of the text as goofy, rounded, toothy monsters delight in their odd meals in a variety of settings. Everything culminates in the closing endpapers' depiction of the children's foods, rather than the opening endpapers' references to their imagined counterparts. A fine serving for storytime. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER KITTY by Barbara Jean Hicks
ANIMALS
Released: April 10, 2007

Kids won't get the pun of the title, but they will definitely giggle at this superhero named Fang who's disguised as an ordinary house cat. His tabby sentiments are expressed in first-person voice: "My Person doesn't know it, but my real name is Fang. That's her now. Mrs. Biddle." Pan to Mrs. Biddle calling, "Here, Walter-kitty-kitty." "If I've told her once, I've told her a thousand times . . . my name is FANG!" While Walter's help with daily activities like making the bed and doing the crossword puzzle goes unappreciated by the Biddles, in his catnaps he is a swashbuckling supercat who saves the day. Awakened by endearments of Wally, Snookums and Baby, Walter deigns to answer, knowing full well that his real name is FANG. Cartoon ink-and-acrylic illustrations inject just the right amount of feline insouciance that cat fanciers will recognize from the sly expressions. Plump and brown-striped with one brown-ringed eye, Walter is a charmer. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
JITTERBUG JAM by Barbara Jean Hicks
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 11, 2005

"Not going to bed. Now nor never." Sure that there's a scary boy lurking beneath his bed, little monster Bobo hides in a cupboard, until a story from comfortingly massive Boo-Dad, about how he once met a (shudder) girl, teases him out. Hicks gives the tale a fluent country cadence, folding in colorful turns of phrase while dropping the occasional auxiliary or "be" verb, and in a style that echoes Barbara McClintock's neoclassicism, Deacon depicts a family of droopy-horned, not very frightening monsters in a cozy, familiar domestic setting. When Bobo actually does find a red-headed lad beneath the bed—visiting from the other side of the closet—rather than curl up in terror, he takes Boo-Dad's advice to grin and make friendly overtures. In no time, the two young 'uns are chatting companionably. Far and away the best reversal of Mercer Mayer's elemental There's a Monster in My Closet premise since Robert L. Crowe's Clyde Monster (1976), and Jeanne Willis's Monster Bed (1986), this will have younger readers, timorous or otherwise, flocking to it "quick as lickety-split 'n' spit-fish." (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >