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ROT, THE CUTEST IN THE WORLD!

The kitten has an argument, but readers would be hard put to find a decomposing spud with a more winning personality.

A “mutant potato” with mottled skin and mismatched eyes enters a cuteness contest.

No sooner does Rot sign up than he’s bellowing out a song in anticipation of victory—until the sight of his rival contestants, an “itty-bitty baby bunny with fluffy, floppy ears,” a “little-wittle bewitching bewhiskered cuddly kitten,” and an “eenie-weenie pink and peppy jolly jellyfish” shakes even his self-confidence. Maybe if he dons bunny ears, whiskers, or a pink tutu? No, in the end he decides to go onstage as he is, show his better side (butt crack and all), and hope for the best. And, as the judging panel turns out to be composed entirely of moldy fruits, he struts off with a huge shiny trophy. Clanton includes potato stamps among the various media he uses to create his simple cartoon illustrations, achieving compellingly scabrous looks for his main character and the judges. He also leaves it to readers to decide if the outcome is a case of cuteness being in the eye of the beholder or, as the “little-wittle,” etc., kitten mutters, evidence of a rigged competition.

The kitten has an argument, but readers would be hard put to find a decomposing spud with a more winning personality. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6762-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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EVERGREEN

A spellbinding tale that will never brown or fade with time.

Soup is always the correct solution.

Evergreen, a young squirrel who lives high in a tree in Buckthorn Forest, is afraid of most things, but top of the list is thunderstorms. When her mother, who makes magical soup, asks her to take an acorn full of soup to Granny Oak, who is ill with the flu, Evergreen is afraid that she won’t be brave enough to do it. But she knows she must—and that she must be careful not to spill a drop, as “Granny Oak will need every bit of it to get better.” Setting off, the scared squirrel encounters a menagerie of adventures and forest creatures in her journey. It’s a wild, imaginative read and one that twists and turns like a forest path, with unexpected surprises along the way. Cordell is a masterful storyteller, and readers will love following Evergreen’s journey as she grows into a more confident squirrel. The artwork is the real star of the show, however; there’s a hint of Sendak in the characters’ humorous expressions and in the timeless pen-and-watercolor backgrounds that cry out to be examined in detail. Educators and caregivers will love reading this story aloud in installments, and readers will adore seeing what Evergreen encounters in her travels. A hint of future stories will tantalize readers, who will close the book eager for a new volume to devour.

A spellbinding tale that will never brown or fade with time. (Early chapter book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-31717-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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