Books by Bruce Ingman

MY WORST BOOK EVER by Allan Ahlberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 17, 2018

"Glimpses of a writer's life, with an engaging bid for sympathy at the travails thereof. (Picture book. 7-9, adult)"
In this (presumably) made-up account, a promising picture-book project falls afoul of a series of aggravating mishaps. Read full book review >
THE HOLE STORY by Paul Bright
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2017

"A good choice for budding philosophers. (Picture book. 4-9)"
A first step into the world of ontology, picture-book style! Read full book review >
HOORAY FOR BREAD by Allan Ahlberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 9, 2013

"Mirthful artwork and friendly rhymes get readers all toasty with warm, good feelings. (Picture book. 2-6)"
A baker delivers a loaf from the oven to his family's kitchen, where the bread is eaten, slice by slice, through the course of one day. Read full book review >
THE PENCIL by Allan Ahlberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

In this distant cousin to Harold and the Purple Crayon, a pencil draws a smiling boy (previously met in Ahlberg and Ingman's Runaway Dinner, 2006) and names him "Banjo." At Banjo's behest the pencil adds and names a family, pets, an entire world and a paintbrush to color it all in. When some of the figures start complaining about their details, the pencil obligingly creates a rubber eraser—which turns out to be a mistake, as the eraser proceeds to "rub out" everything and everyone. Sensitive readers may find this part slightly disturbing, but it does create plenty of suspense. Just when entropy looks assured of a win, the fleeing pencil turns on a last, blank page and draws a second eraser—and then, after the two rub each other out, proceeds to remake all that had been lost. Cosmic overtones, anyone? Like its classic antecedent, this may not only inspire some creative world-building in budding artists, it also gives the relationship between story and audience an additional interactive aspect. (Picture book. 6-9) Read full book review >
PREVIOUSLY by Allan Ahlberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Along the same lines as David LaRochelle and Richard Egielski's The End (February 2007), but using more predictable elements, Ahlberg and Ingman present a set of linked tales in rewind mode. Goldilocks arrives home "all bothered and hot." Why? Because previously she had run through the forest, having climbed out of somebody's window in the wake of being caught sleeping in someone's bed, etc. Even before that, she had bumped into a lad named Jack with a hen under his arm . . . and so on, through Jack and Jill, the Frog Prince, Cinderella and others—and yet further back, to when all the characters were babies and, even further, the dark woods were seedlings "in the sun and the wind and the rain / under the endless sky, once upon a time. Previously." In Ingman's thickly brushed cartoons, small figures in contemporary dress dash through rolling fields and thick forest before regressing to a spread of diaper-clad infants, then giving way to open, almost abstract landscape. The title word's repetition creates a verbal pattern that comes out more clearly when spoken aloud, but even solitary young readers will follow the plot easily—in either direction. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
THE RUNAWAY DINNER by Allan Ahlberg
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

Just as a boy named Banjo is about to eat dinner, his sausage, Melvin, jumps up and runs off, accompanied by the dish, fork, knife, carrots (all girls named Caroline, Clara, etc.), peas (all boys named Peter, Percival and Paul) and so on. With a wacky, whimsical narrative that takes as many detours as its participants, Ahlberg's writing is stylistically accomplished and decidedly British. So, why Americanize the story with French fries and baseball instead of chips and cricket? Ingman's childlike paintings incorporating ink sketches are expressively and colorfully detailed with personified objects, chronicling the energetic journey from kitchen table to city sidewalk to park pathway and back. Various calamities ensue (a pigeon eats Percival the pea and a duck eats Paul, while the plate becomes a Frisbee), before Banjo sits down to a plum pie for his replacement dinner. More sophisticated in structure than the classic tales and verses that inspired it, this madcap riff is for primary-grade readers—and their clever parents. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
DOUBLE PINK by Kate Feiffer
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2005

Madison is a little girl enthralled with the color pink; in fact, she's obsessed with all things pink. She wants pink clothes, pink food and an all-pink room. She gives away all her toys that aren't pink; she has an all-pink birthday party. Finally she puts on a hot pink wig and paints her face bright pink and in a surrealistic surge of fantasy, she disappears into her pinkness and can no longer be seen by her own mom. Madison's tears wash away her face paint and she comes back to reality, deciding that red might be a nice change instead. Ingman's acrylic-and-ink illustrations use a minimalist style, with outlined details in black and liberal doses of the brightest neon pink to create Madison's monochrome world. Little girls (especially those legions who love pink) will enjoy Madison's over-the-top exploration of this favorite shade. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
BOING! by Sean Taylor
by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Bruce Ingman
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2004

Inspired perhaps by the superhuman leaps in martial arts or Spiderman movies, Taylor and Ingman follow a champion trampoliner dubbed the "Great Elastic Marvel" as he inadvertently catapults himself out of a high window, then narrowly escapes one deadly fall after another thanks to a pile of mattresses, an awning, and other conveniently placed springy surfaces. Ingram goes for a postmodern, Maira Kalman look, creating variously canted aerial scenes with swaths of violently contrasting color, compressed perspectives, and flat figures delineated by just a few strokes of pen or brush. His art offers some visual energy, but it never quite matches the stomach-dropping vertigo awaiting viewers of Mordicai Gerstein's Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003). Having soared all over town, Great Elastic Marvel flies back through his window, crash-lands, and is last seen bouncing merrily through a hospital ward, impeded not at all by a plaster fanny-cast. You just can't keep a good trampolinist down—but that sense of wild motion isn't quite there. Good premise, but perhaps more suited to film than paper. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
BAD NEWS! I’M IN CHARGE! by Bruce Ingman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2003

Unearthing a proclamation that makes him the boss of everything, a lad proceeds to make the best of it in this undiluted wish-fulfillment fantasy. Working from a quickly drawn-up list ("1. Stay up late. 2. Chips with everything. 3. Snacks all the time. 4. Every Wednesday, teachers wear funny hats"), he sends his parents to bed at eight, installs a bank of TVs, and the like—then discovers that there's a list of eye-glazing responsibilities too, like kissing babies and opening factories. Only momentarily daunted, however, he assigns all that boring stuff to a cabinet of square-headed adults, and proclaims himself President of Fun. Ingman (Night on the Tiles, 1999, etc.) adds occasional photographic fragments to postmodern scenes featuring sketchy figures and garish finger-paint colors, creating illustrations that are as direct and uncomplicated as the gleeful narrative. Fans of Jules Feiffer's recent excursions into the preteen id will find themselves on familiar ground here. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
A NIGHT ON THE TILES by Bruce Ingman
Released: March 1, 1999

When Martha's Away (1995), her cat leads a busy life, but it's nothing compared to his night schedule; as this companion book demonstrates, once his human falls asleep, it's up and out to study fashion, engineering, and mechanics at the Cat Academy, have a whisker trim, then rendezvous with feline friend Audrey for a banana milkshake and a movie. Ingman strews naively painted figures, plus an occasional bit of printed music or a black-and-white still from, say, Roman Holiday, against strongly colored, vigorously brushed monochrome backgrounds, creating a whimsically contemporary look perfectly in keeping with the brief, droll text. Even more industrious than the nightclub-owning pet of Nina Laden's The Night I Followed the Dog (1994), this ambitious kitty thoroughly debunks the silly notion that cats laze about all the time. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
LOST PROPERTY by Bruce Ingman
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 1998

The mind behind When Martha's Away (1995) mines humor from the story of a family and a trail of disappearing objects. Maurice narrates; his mother is either gardening, shopping, knitting, or searching for lost objects, while his father sings in the shower, paints most of the exterior of the house, or looks high and low for a missing dry-cleaning ticket. A double-page spread of the dog, Mac, dressed in a man's jacket, surrounded by all the missing objects allows readers to be in on the joke. As with Ingman's previous book, onlookers will either love the art or find it hopelessly naive. The figures are uniformly stiff, but there are always expressive touches: the tilt of Mac's eyes, the brush strokes that pass for Maurice's pants, the cobbled-together garden of paint, ink lines, and seed packets. The story is not particularly new, but the pictures can be seen from the back of the room; the book works best as inspiration for children to put together their own scenes of comic domestic turmoil. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
WHEN MARTHA'S AWAY by Bruce Ingman
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A hilarious take on a day in the life of a cat. Martha's cat, Lionel, has a full secret life and when he reveals all, it may be just what cat-lovers always suspected. Lionel keeps up with the newspaper (while seated on the toilet), prepares his own meals, performs at the piano, and maintains an extensive social schedule that includes painting Gladys, a voluptuous feline neighbor, and playing doctor with Audrey. Lionel also watches cartoons with lunch and works out. To keep up appearances, he pretends to be asleep on the sofa when Martha comes home. Oversized and irresistible, Ingman's first book features gestural paintings full of bright, bold colors, inventive typography, and a soupáon of sly humor. It will inspire laughs out loud from all readers, no matter what their ages. (Picture book. 4- 8) Read full book review >