Books by Betty Paraskevas

HOPPY AND JOE by Betty Paraskevas
Released: May 1, 1999

While his owner, Gino, tends his lemon ice stand, Joe, a big sand-colored dog, hangs out at the beach. He doesn't realize how lonely he is until he teams up with Hoppy, a one-legged seagull stranded on the rocks. Joe gives Hoppy rides on his back up and down the beach, in search of food and a breeze to ruffle his feathers. Everything is grand until autumn arrives, and Gino decides to head south. Hoppy gallantly follows the sun, too, flying overhead, but eventually the poor gull's wings give out. Joe heroically refuses to get back in the truck unless Hoppy gets a ride, too, and finally, Gino gives in. Readers looking for something to read at the beach, or to read when the beach is closed, will appreciate Paraskevas's spry, sunny drawings, bright with the colors of the seaside and as welcome as a spray of waves on a hot day. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
THE TANGERINE BEAR by Betty Paraskevas
Released: Sept. 30, 1997

The Tangerine Bear (32 pp.; $14.95; PLB $14.89; Sept. 30, 1997; 0-06-205146-6; PLB 0-06-205174-4): A classic premise, weakly tweaked. A teddy bear can't understand why no one will buy him, until he discovers that he's defective: his mouth is upside down. He ends up in a junk store window, faded by the sun, next to other damaged items whose tales of woe inexplicably make him laugh. Finally a customer does offer to buy him, but the owner suddenly declares he's not for sale, since he's ``the only family I have.'' Bear's melancholy vanishes instantly. In the textured, highly idiosyncratic paintings, Bear's frowning, oddly lopsided mouth gives him a surly look, and also gives visual expression to the story's off-center air. Stick with Corduroy. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

The Paraskevases (Gracie Graves and the Kids from Room 402, 1995, etc.) take readers on another foray into bizzaroland. At midnight, a young boy stands on a station platform, far from the warm precincts of his bed. A train awaits him, but his fellow passengers are a very strange assortment—blockheads, devilish types, extraterrestrials, creatures right out of an intergalactic bistro. Above the din, ever so faintly, the boy hears the train's sinister warning: ``Never coming, never coming, never coming back.'' In the dining car, he runs across another humanoid, Cecil (``I know my onions'') Bunions, a private eye. Bunions, hearing the train's mad refrain, fashions an elegant escape for the boy. The narrator bumps into Bunions a couple of weeks later and is never sure whether he's had a dream or a magical mystery tour. This piece of artful entertainment has plenty going for it—a touch of the forbidden (the boy is led to the station by a stranger), hair-raising illustrations that are ghoulish and surreal, a tone long on irony. The rhyming is imperfect, but it may not matter: This is not a book to read at bedtime. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

A tour of a typical classroom, person-by-person, told in rhyming verse. The lines rarely scan properly, but many of the character descriptions end with a punch that is either humorous, touching, or, in one case, just shy of offensive: ``When the prinicipal rose to addres the class,/Anna Shannon's bubble gum stuck to his . . . trousers.'' These collaborators include two plugs for their Monster Beach (1995) and four for Junior Kroll (1993). Gracie Graves's pupils are stereotypes: the quiet math whiz, the chubby girl victimized by bullies, the tomboy, the tattletale, etc. They are also throwbacks to another eradespite the gratuitous inclusion of a couple of minority studentsas are other aspects of the illustrations: Many of the girls wear Mary Janes, Gracie has a bottle of india ink on her desk (and four polished apples), a Southern boy wears a double-breasted suit. The wide-eyed jollity of the Paraskevas team compensates mightily, and what readers will take away from this visit to Room 402 is the impression of a classroom teeming with life. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >