Books by Jan Thomas

MY TOOTHBRUSH IS MISSING!  by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 16, 2018

"Pedagogically sound but mean-spirited. (Early reader. 6-8)"
In the latest entry in the Giggle Gang series, Duck, Sheep, and Donkey help Dog find its missing toothbrush with unsettling results. Read full book review >
THERE'S A PEST IN THE GARDEN! by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 6, 2017

"Silly reads for new readers to dig into. (Early reader. 6-8)"
A turnip-loving duck and its friends defend their garden. Read full book review >
IS THAT WISE, PIG? by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"Preschool sous-chefs, kindergarten accountants, and everyone in between will find commonality in their chuckling reactions to this over-the-top tutorial for impromptu caterers. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Eight years after Duck's persistent and unwelcome turnip obsession in A Birthday for Cow (2008), it's now Pig's turn to be the odd animal out. Read full book review >
LET'S SING A LULLABY WITH THE BRAVE COWBOY by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 25, 2012

"A terrific story to read and sing, with a most satisfying finale. (Picture book. 2-6)"
Silliness abounds as a not-very-bright, not-very-brave cowboy croons his cows to sleep. Read full book review >
THE EASTER BUNNY'S ASSISTANT by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2012

"An amusing approach to a popular springtime craft, presented with a spray of not-so-subtle humor. (Picture book. 4-10)"
This super-simple story with bold, cartoon-style illustrations features just two characters, the Easter Bunny and a skunk, and one joke: The overly enthusiastic skunk can't control his excitement, leading repeatedly to unpleasantly odiferous results. Read full book review >
LET'S COUNT GOATS! by Mem Fox
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 5, 2010

The traditional counting format receives a charming update as playfully expressive goats mimic human behavior. While these floppy-eared, flat-nosed animals may play the trumpet or throw a snowball, the lure of hot sandcastles or crunchy umbrella stands prove delicious distractions for the frisky friends. The lilting rhymes nicely capture the building energy. As the growing menagerie frolics across each page, pointed questions encourage audience participation. "Here we see a soccer goat roaring at the ref! / But can we count the CHEERING goats who must be going deaf?" Fox, an early-literacy specialist to the core, gets each rhyme just right, though this hasn't the sublime predictability of her spectacular Where Is the Green Sheep? (illustrated by Judy Horacek, 2004). Thomas's trademark digital spreads provide punch through chunky, dark outlines and zany off-kilter expressions: The slant of an eyebrow or the turn of an ear—not to mention all those beards—makes for some seriously funny faces. The distinctive Grenadine type, which allows each all-uppercase word to pop dramatically, suits the bold backdrops. These wacky goats guarantee a goofy good time. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
HERE COMES THE BIG, MEAN DUST BUNNY! by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 10, 2009

The wacky dust bunnies return, now terrorized by an intimidating gray ball of fanged fuzz instead of the vacuum cleaner (Rhyming Dust Bunnies, 2008). Friends Ed, Ned, Ted and Bob try engaging their tormentor in their rhyming game, but unfortunately, this bullying dust-ball won't play nice. Exclamatory dialogue rendered entirely in speech balloons provides punchy flair. "What rhymes with fit?" Ed and co. ask; "I know!" the big, mean dust bunny snarls, "SIT!" as he squashes them into accordioned fuzz. Apprehensive Bob continually expresses concern; his meek warning ("cat!") proves futile, and the powerful feline crushes their dusty foe—though the menace eventually transforms his wicked ways. The visual narrative maintains sharp pacing throughout. Thomas's signature digital illustrations utilize stark dark lines and bright color splashes with a quirky exuberance. Expressive faces steal the show as the characters' thick eyebrows, protruding noses and untamed fur react to each hilarious circumstance, demonstrating that a little dust is well worth the mess. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
CAN YOU MAKE A SCARY FACE? by Jan Thomas
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 4, 2009

In a series of speech balloons, a buck-toothed ladybug takes readers through a guided visualization of sorts. "Okay. Are you ready? Let's pretend! / Pretend you have a tiny bug on your nose. Wiggle it off!" Thomas's digital graphics feature eye-popping colors and heavy black outlines; despite the simplicity of her shapes, she squeezes prodigiously clear expressions out of her character. Even as her ladybug laughs at the imagined tickling of the bug, audiences will join in, and they'll recognize what happened with the next page turn, even before hearing, "Whoops! The tiny tickly bug flew into your mouth?" Rest easy, faint of heart, readers and ladybug quickly succeed in blowing the bug out—though its next stop is "in your shirt?" The ladybug's dialogue is rendered in a clean, friendly typeface, occasional key words bolded and in bright colors, a device that keeps readers connected to the written word even through all the foolery. In a whopper of a twist, reality and imagination blend so subtly that children will find themselves looking around the room to ascertain for themselves just what's happened. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
RHYMING DUST BUNNIES by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 6, 2009

This dynamic quartet of dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, Ted and Bob, have quite the flair for rhyming words—except for anxious Bob, who is wisely more concerned about their perilous surroundings. In response to each rhyme, Bob dramatically declares that their enemy draws near: " ‘rug' / ‘hug' / ‘mug' / ‘LOOK OUT!' " Unfortunately, each of Bob's pleas falls on deaf bunnies' ears. Ned obliviously responds, "Bob, no… ‘LOOK OUT! HERE COMES A BIG SCARY MONSTER WITH A BROOM!' does not rhyme with ANYTHING, really." When the inevitable occurs, with a dramatic "Thwptt," the threesome finally listens to the rational hero, providing a powerful punch line. Thomas's digital illustrations, stark against her solid, colorful backgrounds, successfully accentuate the witty text. The shaggy dust bunnies are boldly contrasted, as their colors—green, purple, red and blue—extend past the thick lines into the ever-so-slightly-less-red background. With their wide noses, long ears, four-fingered paws and buck teeth, these fuzzy characters are a riot. Put away your cleaning supplies for a little messy fun. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
THE DOGHOUSE by Jan Thomas
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

The third time continues the charm for Thomas's latest offering featuring her familiar animal buddies (A Birthday for Cow, 2008). When Cow's energetic kick sends the ball out of reach of Pig, Duck and Mouse, the toy lands in unknown terrority: the doghouse. Mouse cajoles each animal in turn to venture into the daunting canine quarters to reclaim the ball; much to Mouse's dismay, however, none of them returns. When Mouse timidly asks if Duck may leave the doghouse, he meets the house's toothy resident, who refuses to grant the rodent's request. Bold cartoon illustrations provide an inside glimpse into Dog's living space, the setting for a surprising reunion for these friends and their ball. The successful use of repetition, realized through succinct sentences (rendered in speech balloons) and solid colors, maintains the material's superb pacing. Slanted lines and masterful use of the frame capture the shifting moods and actions of the characters, perfectly placed on each page. Thomas's entertaining story and spirited illustrations kick this one right out of the park. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
A BIRTHDAY FOR COW! by Jan Thomas
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2008

Thomas scores again after What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (2007) with another droll crowd-pleaser for the OshKosh B'Gosh set. Scornfully rejecting Duck's hilariously persistent efforts to add a turnip, Pig and Mouse create a luscious cake—only to find themselves saddled with eating it themselves (not that they mind) when Cow obliviously falls on Duck's turnip, rapturously declaring this birthday the best one ever. Punctuated by punch-line words (usually "TURNIP") in red, the huge, pithy text is paired to simply drawn figures that spill past the edges, and often seem ready to pop right up from the page. From the calendar countdown on the front endpapers (Cow's birthday is October 17th, if you're curious) to a closing joke on the rear ones about using turnips as toothbrushes, this riotous read-aloud is guaranteed to have them rolling in the aisles. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
WHAT WILL FAT CAT SIT ON? by Jan Thomas
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

In this comic debut, Thomas has created a cat that puts Garfield to shame. With just a few, oversized words per page, the drama is clear: Where will this gargantuan cat sit? On the cow? The cow looks terrified, and he should be. The cat's head dwarfs the cow's, so it's no wonder the cow raises his hooves in a joyous "Yee-haw!" when he realizes he has been spared. The fun of the story is the interaction between the characters on the page and with the readers themselves. Lapsitters will yell out a warning and cluck and moo along with the threatened farm animals. These animals are all eyes and teeth, fearful in terror or laughing in relief. Familiar animals, repetitive text and heavily outlined page-filling graphic illustrations add up to a lot of laughs. This is a book that toddlers and new readers will reach for again and again. Shelve this near Mo Willems' Pigeon books. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >