Books by Kerry Argent

Released: April 1, 2008

India the harmonica-playing elephant is so used to being the star of the Big Top that even though the circus is failing, she doesn't take kindly to the arrival of a new trainer. Indeed, being a huge, quirt-bearing rhino wearing leopard skins and a billowing purple cloak, Oswaldo the Magnificent comes across as a rough customer in Argent's big, bright pictures. Soon all the other animals are dancing to his tune—and he's the one in the spotlight. Unable, or unwilling, to learn new tricks, India soon finds herself out of the show entirely. One night after a semi-intentional mishap she flees, but, cannier than he looks, Oswaldo draws her back by convincing her that she would be an even bigger star as a harmonica-playing elephant...on roller skates. The plot doesn't really hang together, but the all-animal cast, which is posed on two legs, dressed in circus garb and placed right up front in every scene, will draw young audiences out of their seats to check out the circus action. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
TOO LOUD LILY by Sofie Laguna
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

Lily Hippo can't keep quiet. Her family and friends are always asking her to keep it down. But when Lily Hippo meets Miss Loopiola, the new music and drama teacher, she finally gets to turn it up, and her confidence increases accordingly. To Miss Loopiola, Lily's loudness is an asset, not a liability, and she encourages the young hippo to let loose in the school play. Argent's charming vignettes and full-bleed spreads, which appear to be watercolors, show Lily's transformation, from lumbering goofball to confident star. Her depiction of Lily on opening night—performing in an emerald green gown, with pink gloves, painted toenails, and polka-dotted briefs, revealed as she leaps across the stage—is particularly effective. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
NIGHTY NIGHT! by Margaret Wild
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

Wild (The Pocket Dogs, p. 423, etc.) scores again with a barnyard of animal babies who won't go to bed. It is time to be tucked in and the parent animals—Mother Sheep, Father Duck, Mother Hen, and Father Pig—send their children to bed. Mother Sheep arrives at her pen but when she calls, "Nighty night, my lovely lambs" her little lambs have been replaced by little chicks who say, "Cheep! Cheep! Tricked you!" And so it goes throughout the barnyard as one parent after another stands in open-mouthed surprise at finding substitute children. Father Duck discovers piglets in the pond, "You sassy scalawags!" Mother Hen is shocked that the lambs are tucked into the nest in her hen house and ducklings surprise Father Pig. They are all sorted out in the end with a chorus of "Nighty nights." There is one last delaying tactic from each and the piglets claim they have to "wee, wee, wee." The repeated phrases will be sure to have sleepy children chiming in and Argent's (Sleepy Bears, 1999, etc.) strong, rich watercolors offer beguiling parents and offspring. A delightful bedtime treat that could stir up "little rascals." (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
DINNERTIME! by Sue Williams
Released: April 1, 2001

A passel of roly-poly bunnies eludes the ravenous clutches of a sly fox. A group of six rabbit siblings frolic in the fields, unaware of the danger lurking nearby. Williams's (Let's Go Visiting, 1998, etc.) jaunty rhyming couplets set the scene, describing the bunnies at play and their predator's location. Each idyllic scenario is followed by the recurring refrain: "Run, fat rabbits! Run, run, run! / That fox wants to eat you, one by one!" With every leap, the feisty fox cries "Dinnertime!" From a group of six down to one sole bunny, the rabbits continue to merrily play, seemingly unaware of their dwindling numbers. Woven throughout the tale is the suspicion that the fox has consumed the missing bunnies, giving the story a Grimm Brothers feel and thrill. However, the remaining bunny's flight down the hole reveals the entire family safely ensconced within their home. Argent's (Nighty Night!, 2001, etc.) watercolor illustrations are both humorous and a bit hair-raising. Following the hapless bunnies is a collection of sheep, geese, and mice, which form a comical Greek chorus, crying out the warning to the youngsters. Argent cleverly reduces their numbers along with the rabbits for the edification of observant readers. With snapping jaws and sudden pounces, her depiction of the fox wavers on the edge of being frightening. However, while younger readers may be slightly alarmed, older preschoolers will enjoy the gasps and starts of this rousing tale. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
THANK YOU, SANTA by Margaret Wild
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

In January, Samantha writes Santa a friendly thank-you note, confiding her pleasure in the knitting needles and yarn he brought and asking after his reindeer. In February, he replies: no, he and Mrs. Claus don't know how to knit, and the littlest reindeer is poorly. So it goes, month by month, as the two exchange notes on polar animals, including a bear Samantha knows about in a nearby zoo (``Perhaps he was dreaming of snow''). Santa decides the reindeer will have to stay home this year; Samantha intervenes on his behalf (``All I want for Christmas is for the littlest reindeer to be happy...''); and in December, Santa thanks the Australian child for her knitted gifts and promises an unseasonable surprise for her polar bear friend. Wild brings a deal of thought to her carefully crafted, simple seeming story; Argent's appealing realistic illustrations glow with life and color. An unusually amiable Christmas offering. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1991

The friends introduced in Wombat and Bandicoot (1990) are back in a charming ``Lift-the-flap Book.'' With the help of some other Australian animals, Bandicoot hides a present and prepares a surprise party; Wombat, meanwhile, less sleepy than he seems, searches unsuccessfully for his gift. Argent's beautifully designed, soft-textured art is enlivened by the brisk action (much of it behind the sturdy flaps), by the gaily-patterned fabrics on every page, and by the endearing gleam in Bandicoot's eye. Just right. (Picture book. 2-5) Read full book review >