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ONCE UPON A SLIME

A smart choice for fans of the genre.

This fractured fairy tale packs in some solid jokes (and a lot of slime).

While visiting the Three Bears, Goldilocks’ golden locks are drenched in a generous blob of slime as soon as she opens the door. Who could be responsible? This begins a whodunit that crisscrosses the fairy-tale realm as Goldie and a gaggle of friends seek out the culprit. Was it Baby Bear? (“You’re still mad I broke your chair!” Goldie accuses him.) Was it Rapunzel? Was it the Three Little Pigs? Who knew that Goldilocks had beef with so many of her neighbors? As they search, the expanding party is repeatedly slimed in location after location. Maxwell’s humor is dry, and hip readers will giggle at the snapbacks and humorous dialogue sprinkled throughout. The story reads aloud well, although the length may limit the audience to older listeners. Cotterill’s artwork—ink on watercolor paper with digitally added color—is loose and lively, and rereaders (and savvy-eyed first timers) are given hints to the real slimer. Of the human cast, only Little Red Riding Hood appears to be a person of color; this was a missed opportunity in an otherwise funny retelling.

A smart choice for fans of the genre. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39326-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent.

Published in magazines, never seen since / Now resurrected for pleasure intense / Versified episodes numbering four / Featuring Marco, and Horton and more!

All of the entries in this follow-up to The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (2011) involve a certain amount of sharp dealing. Horton carries a Kwuggerbug through crocodile-infested waters and up a steep mountain because “a deal is a deal”—and then is cheated out of his promised share of delicious Beezlenuts. Officer Pat heads off escalating, imagined disasters on Mulberry Street by clubbing a pesky gnat. Marco (originally met on that same Mulberry Street) concocts a baroque excuse for being late to school. In the closer, a smooth-talking Grinch (not the green sort) sells a gullible Hoobub a piece of string. In a lively introduction, uber-fan Charles D. Cohen (The Seuss, The Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss, 2002) provides publishing histories, places characters and settings in Seussian context, and offers insights into, for instance, the origin of “Grinch.” Along with predictably engaging wordplay—“He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb. / But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum”—each tale features bright, crisply reproduced renditions of its original illustrations. Except for “The Hoobub and the Grinch,” which has been jammed into a single spread, the verses and pictures are laid out in spacious, visually appealing ways.

Fans both young and formerly young will be pleased—100 percent. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-38298-4

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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