Books by Kevin O'Malley

HOW THEY CHOKED by Georgia Bragg
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: May 6, 2014

"Readers will be entertained and fascinated by the flawed humanity depicted within. (notes, sources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
Bragg's follow-up to How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous (2011) reveals the failures of 14 notables from history. Read full book review >
The Impossible Shrinking Machine and Other Cases by Seymour Simon
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: March 8, 2013

"A young scientist lives up to his nickname in this clever, accessible book."
A spunky young scientist with an affinity for corny jokes, experiments and the natural world investigates summer vacation and all the mysteries it brings. Read full book review >
IF BEAVER HAD A FEVER by Helen Kettemen
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

"Youngsters will find the silly answers funny and be reassured that Mamas can always fix everything. (Picture book. 4-7)"
"Mama Bear, Mama Bear… / If you were a doctor / in charge of the zoo, / what would you do / if Gnu had the flu?" Read full book review >
DESK STORIES by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2011

"Silly and irreverent, this collection, with its comic-book format and sometimes disparaging attitude toward school, is sure to attract an audience. (Graphic short stories. 7-9)"
When it comes to school, backpacks and desks go hand in hand, so it is no surprise that O'Malley has followed his Backpack Stories (2009) with this impertinent look at that standard of classroom furniture, the desk. Read full book review >
THE GREAT RACE by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2011

"An updated but optional version of this ubiquitous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A slightly fractured fable works too hard to appeal to an adult audience and leaves children in the dust. Read full book review >
Released: March 15, 2011

"Engaging, informative and downright disgusting. (sources, further reading, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)"
The most reluctant of readers will find it difficult to resist this consistently disgusting chronicle of the gruesome deaths of 19 famous people. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUPERBABY by Kevin O'Malley
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"The artistic mashup illustrates the value of collaborative effort as hilariously as does the tumultuous tale. (Picture book. 6-9)"
For a new highlight in the annals of Good Cooperation, the creators of Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (2005) reprise the winning premise and bring back much of the original cast. Read full book review >
ANIMAL CRACKERS FLY THE COOP by Kevin O'Malley
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2010

"The Brementown Musicians" is a wonderful bit of cleverness captured by the Brothers Grimm. Read full book review >
BACKPACK STORIES by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"A pleasing diversion for anyone who's ever lugged a zillion-pound backpack. (Picture book. 7-10)"
A tongue-in-cheek history of backpacks from prehistory to the 21st century kicks off O'Malley's comics-inspired collection of four short tales. Read full book review >
CONGRATULATIONS, MISS MALARKEY!  by Judy Finchler
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

"While the climax is decidedly anticlimactic—she returns after her honeymoon and tells the narrator to call her 'Mrs. Malarkey'—the emotional journey of the children is both very real and rarely seen in books for this age. (Picture book. 5-8)"
"Miss Malarkey has been acting really strange lately." Read full book review >
PAULA BUNYAN by Phyllis Root
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 6, 2009

"The text is printed on cream-toned stock, often with black-and-white vignettes contributing to the old-timey look. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Paula Bunyan, who could outwrestle her more famous brother Paul "three times out of six," gets tired of hauling ferries across the river on her shoulders and sets out for more open spaces where she can sing without breaking china and walk without running out of forest. Read full book review >
THE BIRTHDAY PET by Ellen Javernick
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2009

"Funny and varied perspectives on the perfect pet. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A little boy is inundated with new pets he doesn't want in this humorous reminder that listening counts. Read full book review >
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"O'Malley and O'Brien have way too much fun here, and the Captain's legions of fans will, too. (Picture book. 7-9)"
Continuing the heroic work of making the spaceways safe for all law-abiding dinosaurs, Captain Raptor and the scaly crew of starship Megatooth return—this time in pursuit of the pirate ship Blackrot, whose bloodthirsty mob of "misshapen mutants and reptilian cyborgs" has stolen planet Jurassica's trove of jewels. Read full book review >
GIMME CRACKED CORN & I WILL SHARE by Kevin O'Malley
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"Scramble together bits of the comic cartoon picture books by M.J. Auch with pieces of the egg-zagerated humor of the movie Chicken Run and season with the wacky wit of Doreen Cronin and you have a frittata of fun. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Cornball comedy guaranteed to pun-ish your funny bone. Read full book review >
DAD’S BALD HEAD by Paul Many
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2007

"The marked lack of high drama might make this useful as a help in coping with similar domestic flurries in households with Gen-X parents. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Young Pete has to cope with a small but unsettling change in this low-key family story. Read full book review >
SLUGS IN LOVE by Susan Pearson
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"Snail-mail fun that gives a new connotation to sliming someone. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Slugs in love? Read full book review >
MISS MALARKEY LEAVES NO READER BEHIND by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2006

"She finally brings home the bacon with a title that is the narrator's to know and readers to find out (though Finchler lends a hand with solid lists of titles, including one about finding books to love). (Picture book. 5-8)"
Miss Malarkey, school librarian, has set a goal to have the school read 1,000 books before the end of the school year, and to find a book for each and every student to love. Read full book review >
HIPPO GOES BANANAS! by Marjorie Dennis Murray
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2006

"A communal nuzzle provides a cozy closing note, but such similar tales as Helen Ketteman's Armadillo Tattletale, illustrated by Keith Graves (2000), or Jonathan Meres's Big Bad Rumor, illustrated by Jacqueline East (2000), will play better, even with uncritical readers. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Wasting his considerable talent on a clumsy, illogical tale, O'Malley casts big, rotund, comically frantic-looking animals knocking down trees, dashing hither and yon or tumbling down a steep hillside. Read full book review >
WALTER THE GIANT STORYTELLER’S GIANT BOOK OF GIANT STORIES by Walter M. Mayes
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"Their inventiveness and the sheer geniality of the overall concept make up for the occasional flat note in a rather overlong text. (notes, bibliography) (Fiction. 6-10)"
While the middle "giant" in the title is hyperbolic, as this is only rather longer than the average picture book, it is indeed a collection of stories about giants told by a giant (or at least, according to the flyleaf, a very tall man). Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A COOL MOTORCYCLE DUDE by Kevin O'Malley
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 2005

"This disarming, funny and not agenda-driven dig at the hot-button issue of gender differences is likely to excite plenty of giggles—and perhaps some discussion, too. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Young readers who have ever been forcibly yoked to a rival for some class project will glory in this contentious oral report. Read full book review >
CAPTAIN RAPTOR AND THE MOON MYSTERY by Kevin O'Malley
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2005

"Readers not yet up to James Gurney's 'Dinotopia' tales will roar with approval. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Young readers drawn by the gloriously toothy dinosaur posing on the cover of this tongue-in-cheek space opera may be astonished to discover that he's the episode's hero. Read full book review >
LUCKY LEAF by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

"Youngsters will be able to relate to the young video-gamer, and they'll feel right at home in the comic-book format. (Picture book. 3-8)"
While trying to beat level 20, a young boy's video-gaming gets interrupted by the age-old maternal cry of "Get outside and play!" Read full book review >
MISS MALARKEY’S FIELD TRIP by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: Aug. 15, 2004

Fledgling teacher Miss Malarkey's real education continues in another spot-on slice of school life. Read full book review >
STRAIGHT TO THE POLE by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"Never has the daily venture to school been so fraught—if only in the venturer's mind—than in this natural companion for Patricia Lakin's hilarious Snow Day (2002), which puts a very different twist on a similar scenario. (Picture book. 6-8)"
A muffled figure leans into the wind, struggling through drifts and swirls of snow, falling forward to crawl on hands and knees to reach The Pole at last . . . no, not that sort of Pole: the kind with a sign on top. Read full book review >
LITTLE BUGGY RUNS AWAY by Kevin O'Malley
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

"Despite, or perhaps because of, its indirect approach, the episode will give children considering similar flights a good chance for second thoughts. (Picture book. 4-6)"
O'Malley sends all the right signals as he also sends the ladybug star of Little Buggy (2002) stomping off in a huff after an argument with Big Buggy. Read full book review >
MOUNT OLYMPUS BASKETBALL by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: March 15, 2003

"The final score may be lopsided, but the game's a winner, and every reader gets a courtside seat. (Picture book. 6-9)"
It's chaos on the court as the Greek Gods, still riding high after their victory over the Titans, square off against a team of mortal Heroes for a riotous, epic game of hoops. Read full book review >
TWELVE DAYS by Gordon Snell
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Its magical illustrations definitely call for repeat readings. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Snell (Thicker Than Water, 2001, etc.) provides new words to the old Christmas song of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," with a more modern theme that may be more accessible to today's children. Read full book review >
YOU’RE A GOOD SPORT, MISS MALARKEY by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

"It couldn't hurt. (Picture book. 5-10)"
Another installment in this ongoing author and illustrator collaboration (Testing Miss Malarkey, 2000, etc.) explores Miss Malarkey's sojourn as the new soccer coach. Read full book review >
LITTLE BUGGY by Kevin O'Malley
ADVENTURE
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

"Young readers will delight in this visual treat as they grasp the inspiring theme and begin to take flight themselves. (Picture book. 3-7)"
Little Buggy's lesson in flying radiates with encouragement and determination. Read full book review >
DINOSAUR DEALS by Stuart J. Murphy
DINOSAURS
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

"A guide is included to help kids get the most out of the book, and a few games are suggested to enjoyably extend the math lesson. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)"
Murphy continues to amuse with math—quite a trick considering the amount of anxiety the subject manages to generate. Read full book review >
MAKING PLUM JAM by John Warren Stewig
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2001

"A good choice to inspire storytelling sessions and children's own writing. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Eccentric aunts Jane, Lizzie, and Alice star in Stewig's (Mother Holly, 2001, etc.) memoir-ish account of a boy's summer sojourn to the country. Read full book review >
HUMPTY DUMPTY EGG-SPLODES by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: April 1, 2001

"As bratty as its intended audience, this poaches from the best scramblers. (Picture book. 6-10)"
O'Malley throws a spanner in the Mother Goose works when he lets Humpty Dumpty snap and go on a rampage through the land of nursery rhymes. Read full book review >
TESTING MISS MALARKEY by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 2000

"Finchler (Miss Malarkey Won't Be in Today, 1998, etc.) conveys the hubbub surrounding the 'test of no import' with dash and humor, while O'Malley's drawings of the hang-dog teachers work just right for the fraught atmosphere. (Picture book. 5-9)"
Finding humor in standardized testing is no easy task, but the creators of Miss Malarkey and crew know just where to look. Read full book review >
BUD by Kevin O'Malley
by Kevin O'Malley, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2000

"A delightful springboard for budding gardeners and an opportunity to share their enthusiasm with family and friends. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A sweetly anthropomorphic Rhino family learns to appreciate their child's unique interests through surprising support from an unexpected source. Read full book review >
MISS MALARKEY WON'T BE IN TODAY by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"O'Malley's artwork, filled with humor and strong on facial expressions, conveys all the anxiety a teacher can muster as she speculates about her absence and its consequences. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A worthy sequel to Finchler and O'Malley's Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 (1995). Read full book review >
COLLIDING WITH CHRIS by Dan Harder
FICTION
Released: March 1, 1998

"A small dog that appears on the copyright page joyfully keeps pace with Chris to the satisfying conclusion in this small but funny episode. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Harder's first book is aimed at bicyclists, including those still soldiering on with training wheels. Read full book review >
VELCOME by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

"Typeface mania, dialogue balloons, and droll commentary by a dog do not alter the book's low origins and utter lack of originality. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A comic book in picture-book clothing, more akin to MAD magazine than to anything by Sendak, Macaulay, Van Allsburg, or other practicioners of the form. Read full book review >
ROSIE'S FIDDLE by Phyllis Root
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 1997

"A toe-tapping tall tale to read aloud. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)"
The devil does love a good contest. Read full book review >
MISS MALARKEY DOESN'T LIVE IN ROOM 10 by Judy Finchler
FICTION
Released: Sept. 4, 1995

"On the whole, though, the spare language and bright, expressive pictures make it a rewarding read. (Picture book. 4-6)"
As the narrator knows (the rest of the world has been misinformed), teachers don't go home after school, but spend their lives sleeping in the classroom, roaming the corridors, and taking meals in the lunchroom. Read full book review >
ROLLER COASTER by Kevin O'Malley
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

"For a title that promises thrills and spills, a disappointing ride. (Picture book. 4+)"
A slight book, its appeal limited by its narrow subject matter, takes readers through a day at an amusement park. Read full book review >
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH? by John Schindel
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

"O'Malley's brash cartoon-style illustrations add substantially to the humor of this simple, repetitive tale, which will be as much fun for beginning readers as for the preschoolsers who are its more obvious audience. (Picture book. 2-7)"
Sidney, a mouse thinking about his own lunch, is unperturbed when a cat declares that ``I'm going to eat you.'' Noticing a bounding dog, he rejoins, ``I don't think so.'' The dog pants, ``I'm going to chase you, cat.'' Again, not so: A goose plans to bite the dog's tail, but a fox sneaks up on the goose, and so on until an elephant proposes to sit on the lion before it can ``paw'' the goat that was going to butt the fox, and Sidney's friend Shirley, arriving with their lunch in a basket, shouts ``Boooo!'' All the other animals run home in a fright, but the two mice settle down to an elegant picnic. Read full book review >
CINDER EDNA by Ellen Jackson
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 1, 1994

"O'Malley's satirical characterizations and lively compositions are right in the spirit of the entertaining story. (Picture book. 5-10)"
One of two new takes on a tale that feminists justly find problematic (see also Minters, below). Read full book review >
WHO KILLED COCK ROBIN? by Kevin O'Malley
MYSTERY
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"Not as cleverly plotted or as elegantly illustrated as Yolen's Piggins series, but with much of the same appeal. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A mystery in the classic style, written in verse that mimics the familiar rhyme. Read full book review >