Books by Guy Parker-Rees

THREE GRUMPY TRUCKS by Todd Tarpley
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

"This surefire hit with construction fans happily bestows some much-needed sympathy on those caregivers wrangling with little 'trucks' of their own. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Heck hath no fury like a toy whose playtime has been interrupted. Read full book review >
BE BRAVE, LITTLE PENGUIN by Giles Andreae
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 26, 2017

"Andreae and Parker-Rees team up once again for another zoological confidence booster. (Picture book. 3-6)"
A tiny penguin is afraid of the water. Read full book review >
NEVER ASK A DINOSAUR TO DINNER by Gareth Edwards
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 28, 2015

"A silly bedtime read. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Rhyming text and boisterous art combine to deliver a string of humorous mini-cautionary tales leading up to a peaceful bedtime. Read full book review >
ARE YOU MY DADDY? by Ilanit Oliver
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 28, 2015

"It's in no way exceptional, but this interactive title will keep toddlers entertained in a pinch. (Board book. 2-4)"
In this interactive hide-and-seek adventure, Walt the Walrus searches the zoo for his daddy. Read full book review >
THE JUNGLE RUN by Tony Mitton
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2012

"Fun for one or two reads, but, unlike Cub, it probably won't have much staying power. (Picture book. 3-5)"
Free-spirited artwork with colors of psychedelic intensity smooths the rather fitful nature of this race through the jungle. Read full book review >
FARMER JOE AND THE MUSIC SHOW by Tony Mitton
ANIMALS
Released: April 15, 2009

Mitton's modest, if mildly agreeable, contribution to the barnyard-hoedown genre opens with a bad case of malaise on Farmer Joe's spread. But readers will know something's cooking, even before Farmer Joe breaks out his guitar, because Parker-Rees's palette comprises the same colors associated with the stuff that gets piped onto birthday cakes, and the barnyard animals, who strike poses of sophisticated ennui, clearly know a good time when it bites them on the knee. Out come the instruments in cumulative fashion, each inspired by the one before, and the farm gets back in operation, for music shows the way to happiness and contentment. The basic rhythm has swing—"The crops like the music. Me-oh-my! / Look at them stretching up to the sky"—and plenty of onomatopoeic oomph—"Doom-doom-doo"—though readers may wince at such clunky rhymes as "idea / cheer" and "yee-har / guitar." Ultimately the book falls short of the panache of other barnyard merriments, such as Martin Waddell's The Pig in the Pond, illustrated by Jill Barton (1992). (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
PLAYFUL LITTLE PENGUINS by Tony Mitton
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"Playful little penguins coming out today / looking for their furry friends . . . Here they are—hooray!" The penguins in scarves and hats slide down hills of snow, hop in the sea to hunt for fish and play hard until they find an orphaned seal pup. To cheer her up, the penguins jump and wiggle, have snowball fights and build snow penguins. Suddenly something dark swims toward them . . . of course, it's the seal's mama. The tired penguins go home. "Sleepy little penguins / in a happy huddle— / that's how penguins like to rest, / in a cozy cuddle!" Mitton and Parker-Rees team up again for this big and bright celebration of penguin fun. The text swirls and swoops, following the nicely individualized characters as they slide and swim across the pages. This unnecessarily re-titled American edition of the British Perky Little Penguins will have story-timers tapping their toes and begging for repeat reads. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
ALL AFLOAT ON NOAH’S BOAT! by Tony Mitton
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2007

When the animals on the ark become bored and irritable, quick-thinking Noah proposes a talent show to give their energies an outlet. It's a smashing success, as "the snakes both tied themselves in knots. / The leopards wiggled all their spots," the toucans, elephants, crocodiles and other acts perform, and "the talent show was such a ball / there's no room to tell it all." Lines of text float across big, bright scenes of cartoon creatures cavorting aboard a vessel that's striped like a beach umbrella and roomy enough to include a curtained stage. Closing with a burst of color brought on by a pair of newly hatched butterflies, last seen fluttering off toward the rainbow arcing overhead, this makes a particularly buoyant version of the world's best-known cruise. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
SPOOKY HOUR by Tony Mitton
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2004

Standing in for readers or listeners, an anxious-looking dog and cat look on as, once the clock strikes twelve, eleven witches, ten ghosts, and so on, troop through moonlit woods to the castle of witchy twins Mitch and Titch to chow down on "ONE GIGANTIC PUMPKIN PIE." The writing isn't first-rate—"Nine skeletons dance by, clickety-clack. / Their snapping teeth go snickety snack"—but Parker-Rees endows each full-bleed scene with intense Halloween colors, plus a cast of the usual suspects, looking far too friendly and unthreatening to alarm even the youngest children. A safe choice for holiday reading, with a bit of counting practice thrown in. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
DINOSAURUMPUS! by Tony Mitton
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2003

As long as there are kids, dinosaur books have less chance of extinction than the actual dinosaurs did. And thus, for the benefit of curious and expressive tykes, Mitton and Parker-Rees (Down by the Cool of the Pool, 2002, etc.) serves up yet another, albeit welcome, excursion in paleo-eurhythmics. Should this be read before or after naptime? Let's explicate. It is to be experienced, to be stomped out in character, to be recited aloud as the language reflects reptilian excitement in sound and onomatopoeia. And Parker-Rees's illustrations resound and bounce on a glowing color palette that has consigned earth tones to long-forgotten times. There is noise, dancing, and a sense of largeness that can only lead from the titular rumpus to a . . . nap. Despite fitting into a familiar genre, Mitton has somehow—perhaps through the rhyme, perhaps through sheer ebullience of language—tapped into a satisfying freshness that says stomping out a Dinosaurumpus is for anytime. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE by Giles Andreae
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Andreae's ode to a different drummer stumbles when it preaches about uncovering your own beat, but is ferried along by enough sweet verse and Parker-Rees's dazzling colors that it almost pulls its own weight. Gerald the giraffe's legs are too spindly for dancing; they are always buckling at the knees when it comes to the old soft-shoe. And while all the other creatures show some mean moves at the Jungle Dance ("The chimps all did a cha-cha / with a very Latin feel, / and eight baboons then teamed up / for a special Scottish reel"), poor Gerald is hooted off the dance floor before he even has a chance to crumple. As he shuffles homeward, and as he stops to admire the moon, a cricket suggests that "you just need a different song." So, to the sound of the wind in the trees, Gerald starts to move: a gentle swaying, some circling, and some swishing. Suddenly he commences to belt out Olympic-quality gymnastic moves—"Then he did a backward somersault / and leapt up in the air"—that blows the other animals away. But probably not readers, even the youngest of whom will want to know just why Gerald's legs didn't buckle this time, special music or not. Bad enough that in a story about rhythm, the verse doesn't always scan—but must Gerald strike the Travolta pose? Gerald doesn't find himself; he simply learns how to mimic. (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
DOWN BY THE COOL OF THE POOL by Tony Mitton
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2001

A wacky romp of a tale, full of simple and buoyant verse and accompanied by electrically jazzy artwork, of a barnyard of creatures cutting it up down by the old waterhole. A jiving frog wants to know who can dance like him, and pretty much each animal on the farm takes up his offer. "I can dance too. / But not like you. / I can flap," says the duck. The pig also displays some fancy footwork, as does the sheep and the dog and the cat and a company of others. After each animal shows their moves, there is a cumulative run through of all those that went before. Finally they all roll—"With a bump and a slip / and a trip and a crash / and a ‘Whoops! Watch out!' / and a topple and a splash"—in a tumble down into the cool of the pool where they keep up the frugging until a sunset worthy of Peter Maxx encourages them to rest their feet. The text is as bouncy as the critters, swooping up and down and highlighting the "flap," the "wiggle," the "stamp," and the "Wheeee!" A slice of tomfoolery, suitable to be read as a song, giving the action the kind of chipper and carefree spin it begs for. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
BIG BAD BUNNY by Alan Durant
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2001

"Here comes Big Bad Bunny. He's coming to take your money!" Indubitably destined to become an instant read-aloud favorite, this rampaging rabbit will have young children raising their hands in glee. One big scowl between his broad sombrero and twin carrots in jeweled holsters, Big Bad Bunny's after money—but will take what he can get, even if it's only a handful of corn or a little milk. "Is no one safe from Big Bad Bunny?" Leave it to Wise Old Bunny the bank teller who, confronted by the carrot-waving bandit, calmly buries him in heavy bags of coins until he promises to return all of his ill-gotten gains. Parker-Rees places his tubby troublemaker in an oversized western setting populated by smaller, meeker wildlife. In the end, a bully reformed, "Quite Good Bunny" revisits the scene of his crimes by popping out of a giant pie, livening up a dull evening meal. Big Bad Bunny is very, very funny. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >