Success comes in the unlikeliest places, so keep on keeping on.

ACROBAT

In Alborozo’s curious—bordering on surreal—tale, a clown finds that attention is hard to grab these days.

A circus clown is doing his thing for the audience, teetering on three tippy chairs while balancing a vase of flowers and a ball on long poles. It’s good stuff, classic, but the clown finds that the circus-goers would rather watch Adele (she plays the accordion and a bass drum—simultaneously), Hercule the strongman, and Marguerite, who pulls lots and lots of hankies out of her top hat. Rejected and dejected, the acrobat leaves the circus and decides to set up shop in the local park. He juggles, does pratfalls and performs amazing feats of balance, but the kids pay him no attention. “The acrobat decided to feed the birds instead.” (Anything for an audience.) And lo, if you feed them, they will come, just like the baseball fans in Iowa. Soon the clown is covered head to toe with a swarm of multicolored little birds, and the kids find this pretty cool indeed. When he is just about to collapse under the birds’ weight, the clown does a great jumping jack, and the birds explode away in a dazzle of color and movement. Beat that, Marguerite and Hercule. The simple text, with its soupçon of existentialism, and the kooky artwork make this a flash of pleasure.

Success comes in the unlikeliest places, so keep on keeping on. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84643-634-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with...

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CREEPY PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Reynolds and Brown have crafted a Halloween tale that balances a really spooky premise with the hilarity that accompanies any mention of underwear.

Jasper Rabbit needs new underwear. Plain White satisfies him until he spies them: “Creepy underwear! So creepy! So comfy! They were glorious.” The underwear of his dreams is a pair of radioactive-green briefs with a Frankenstein face on the front, the green color standing out all the more due to Brown’s choice to do the entire book in grayscale save for the underwear’s glowing green…and glow they do, as Jasper soon discovers. Despite his “I’m a big rabbit” assertion, that glow creeps him out, so he stuffs them in the hamper and dons Plain White. In the morning, though, he’s wearing green! He goes to increasing lengths to get rid of the glowing menace, but they don’t stay gone. It’s only when Jasper finally admits to himself that maybe he’s not such a big rabbit after all that he thinks of a clever solution to his fear of the dark. Brown’s illustrations keep the backgrounds and details simple so readers focus on Jasper’s every emotion, writ large on his expressive face. And careful observers will note that the underwear’s expression also changes, adding a bit more creep to the tale.

Perfect for those looking for a scary Halloween tale that won’t leave them with more fears than they started with. Pair with Dr. Seuss’ tale of animate, empty pants. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0298-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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