Books by George McClements

Released: May 7, 2019

"The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)"
Bonnie so loves her homemade toy, Forky, teacher Miss Wendy holds a Craft Your Own Buddy Day so everyone can create a special toy from found or recycled materials. Read full book review >
Released: June 9, 2009

In this humorous and eco-conscious adventure, seven forest animals face the destruction of their forest home when a "Plas-Tic Trees Factory" buys up the property. But these animals aren't going down without a fight. Inspired by a flier advertising a robotic dinosaur show, they decide to build their own enormous stick-and-burlap dinosaur costume based on the hypothesis that no one would dare destroy a dinosaur's home. Not surprisingly the plan backfires when they trip over a cable and all come tumbling down. Turns out they are special—well, endangered to be exact—and their home is saved. The tongue-in-cheek narration is peppered with funny labels and bits of insider dialogue, such as the bear murmuring, "Is anyone else hot?" or, "Do I hear power tools?" Each character emerges three-dimensionally from the pages, and the revelation of their respective species will set readers howling. McClements's chunky, textured collages work well with the deadpan expressions and couldn't be more apt for the Trojan dinosaur in all its homemade glory (DIY paper-dino instructions appended). We've seen this story before, but we didn't laugh as hard. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

In a less-than-serious take on the banality of evil, a supergenius Bad Guy discovers that escaping from jail, building giant robots and acting the bully is no fun without a Superhero around to put the kibosh on his schemes. Baron Von Baddie reaches this realization after, by accident, catching his nemesis Captain Kapow—depicted in McClements's large, cut-paper-collage cartoons as a mighty figure in cape and body suit, with a sunny smile on his ruggedly handsome face—in a freeze ray, and then gleefully going on to switch days of the week around, gather up mountains of doughnuts and other mischief. Three weeks of that leaves the bored Baron feeling that there's no point to creating chaos if no one's trying to stop him, so off he hies to thaw his adversary out with a humongous hair dryer. Fans of Bob McLeod's Superhero ABC (2006) and like spoofs will chuckle. (Picture book. 6-8) Read full book review >
DOES A SEA COW SAY MOO? by Terry Webb Harshman
Released: June 1, 2008

A small boy explains to a visitor from outer space the meaning of words used differently on land and sea. McClements's mixed-media illustrations on double-page spreads cleverly support the different uses of the words school, cow, clown, horse, bed and star, using collage for the imaginary scenarios (cow with mask and goggles, fish riding a horse) and watercolors for the actuality (manatees grazing on sea plants, seahorses clinging to seaweed). The information is repeated in an alphabetized list of "Silly Sea Facts" at the end. Repetition of words and a rhyming text support emerging readers but the rhymes and rhythm are strained: "A small dorsal fin / Steers this miniature steed; / For safety he hitches / Himself to seaweed." Moreover, many undefined words will be unfamiliar to the audience (predators, dorsal, mollusk). The humor of the wordplay and imagery is not enough to balance the slender premise awkwardly and insufficiently developed. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

McClements takes a distinctly parental point of view in portraying a young veggie-hater's nightly dinner-table performance. "Time for another fun-filled hour," observes Dad grimly, setting down a plate holding three seemingly boulder-sized peas in front of the hyper-dramatic lad who narrates. One touch of pea to tongue is all it takes to elicit writhing fingers ("Ahh . . . I knew it would start with the fingers"), curling toes ("That's a new one!") and twitches that are violent enough to knock over the chair as the child is transformed into . . . "a veggie monster!" Peas choked down at last, the crisis ends—but, of course, there's always tomorrow's broccoli. Created with a mix of clipped photo-bits of food and utensils and figures cut from brown paper, the illustrations have a simple look that goes with the pared-down text, the perspectives and dramatic effect reminiscent of Mo Willems's Pigeon books, but it doesn't really capture the drama like Lauren Child's I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (2000). Still, it may help similarly picky children, and their caregivers, get over taking themselves too seriously. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Saddle up, it's Dino Rodeo time. Buck Bronco is "here to teach y'all everything you need to know 'bout ridin' dinosaurs, includin' how I met these curious critters." Buck proceeds to instruct on choosing a mount from his Mesozoic Ranch: biped or quadruped, herbivore over carnivore (for vegetarians) and one that matches your personality. Mounting requires special techniques depending on the size and shape of the dino (e.g., a ladder for a kentrosaurus), and ridin' must fit the steed: walking, trotting or jumping. After the ride, the dinos need to be watered, fed and groomed. Mixed-media collage playfully pairs well with the inventive story line and reins in the humor. Buck himself looks like Woody from Toy Story, full of vim, vigor and enthusiastic advice. Dinos and rodeos saddle up perfectly and fans of both will kick back and grin. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THE LAST BADGE by George McClements
Released: June 1, 2005

For 12 generations, the Moss family has maintained an album of Grizzly Scout Greatness. Young Samuel would love to peruse it, but one must be in it to view the great feats of Grizzly Scouts past. So Samuel determines that the best way to get in is to earn the last badge, the only one he has yet to earn, the Moon Frog Badge. To do that, he must provide evidence of the mythic Moon Frog's existence. After months of research, he divines the location and precise date of the Frog's appearance. He snaps a photo, only to have an attack of conscience. What will happen if the world knows the truth about the frog? They'll capture it and study it; it will be miserable. Fear not, it turns out that saving the Moon Frog is the heroic deed every generation has done to enter the pages of the album. Young audiences and independent readers will glory in the sly humor and punny text, not to mention the humor-is-in-the-detail collage illustrations. McClements's sophomore effort is a gem of an environmental intergenerational tale that is sure to please. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2002

An extraordinarily obtuse detective is called upon to solve a mystery: why is Red R. Hood's Granny shedding? A series of "snapshots" paper-clipped to pastel yellow scrapbook pages provides the illustrations as Jake Gander hauls Granny in and then, in deadpan text, submits her to an investigation. Jake (always pictured in black-and-white) and Red are cartoon-like, in that pseudo-retro fashion so popular in animation these days. The furry Granny, squeezed into a frilly purple nightie and cap, is amusingly huge, ugly, and hairy. Detective Gander frowns and strokes his lantern jaw as he examines Granny's ears against an ear comparison chart, her eyes against the standard-issue granny glasses, and her teeth against dental X-rays, until Red provides the solution (with the help of a reference book): "Our phony Granny was none other than . . . Harry A. Wolf! (a.k.a. Big Bad)." The whole conceit begs comparison to last year's zany Palatini/Egielski romp, The Web Files, after which this is a pretty pallid offering. Readers sophisticated enough to understand the play against the familiar tale will be bored; younger kids will simply be baffled. An extra. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >