Books by Keren Ludlow

THE TOPSY-TURVIES by Francesca Simon
Released: June 1, 1996

The Topsy-Turvies are an unconventional lot, to say the least. ``Vern, stop eating with your fork,'' said Mrs. Topsy-Turvy. ``You know that's for combing your hair.'' They rise at midnight, don their pajamas, then enjoy their day—make that night—doing things upside down, in reverse, and backwards. When a neighbor knocks on their door one afternoon (``Who could that be at this time of day?'' yawns Mrs. Topsy-Turvy) requesting some baby-sitting help, they sleepily oblige. In a neighborly gesture, they put the house in their version of apple-pie order, give their charge a dose of spontaneity, and foil a burglary attempt (the burglar takes the fall for the housekeeping chaos). Simon's delightful story is told with sophisticated, genuine humor, a superb mix of good intentions and sheer outrageousness that ought to be patented as an antidote to the straight and narrow. Ludlow's candy-colored paintings add their own measure of zest to the tale, further proving that the world is a better place for having the Topsy-Turvies in it. As Mrs. Topsy-Turvy says when confronted with orthodoxy, ``It takes all sorts to make a world.'' (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
JACK TRACTOR by Willy Smax
Released: Feb. 1, 1996

A sequel to Benny the Breakdown Truck (1994), this collection of stories about anthropomorphized cars, trucks, and motorcycles will remind readers and listeners of Virginia Lee Burton's stories in their illustrative style and of the Thomas the Tank Engine books in their getting-along-nicely-with-others theme. However, both stories and pictures here are coarser and more commercial than those timeless models, and the intended audience is not likely to catch many of the puns in the characters' names: Mike McCannick, Francis Ford Popular, Alfie Romeo, Carmen Gear, Roland Royce. Strictly for collections or households where demand for books about talking vehicles can never be sated. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
BIG PIG'S HAT by Willy Smax
Released: May 1, 1993

A British husband-wife team set their witty first book in the American West. When a great wind blows Big Pig's hat away, his first thought is to assign blame. His innocent neighbors, classic western types, know enough to hold their tongues when Big Pig charges into town; but after he pushes Dirty Donkey down, and then the wind blows the hat Donkey's way, Donkey bravely makes a stand. Fat, pugnacious Big Pig actually shoots him—and, in a comical surprise ending, his water pistols wash the donkey nice and clean. Smax's succinct text is humorously laconic; Ludlow's broadly caricatured animals are drawn in bold black, energetically overlaid with vibrant but rather subtle colors evoking a dusty desert town beneath a brilliant sky. A welcome debut. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >