CAVEBOY CRUSH

Caveboy meets cavegirl in Ferry and Kuefler’s rambunctious tale.

Neander is a “typical caveboy,” whether he’s chasing giant mammoth butterflies or spending time with his beloved pet rock, Rock. Then he spots Neanne, a short and hairy—thus, “perfect”—cavegirl. After a little grinning and groaning, which his parents correctly diagnose as symptoms of a “crush,” a smitten Neander runs off to court the elusive cavegirl. He first heads to the Field of Bees to snatch some flowers. In front of Neanne, Neander plops down the flowers and then…CRUSH! He obliterates the flowers. An unimpressed Neanne dashes away, leaving behind a disappointed Neander. It’s time for a “grander” plan. Next up is the Waves of Salt, where Neander scoops out a massive conch shell. He struts back to Neanne, deposits his offering beside her house, and then…CRUSH! Unsurprisingly, Neander’s attempts at romance are not successful, but half the fun of the story comes from his efforts to impress his eventual new friend. Though the premise relies on traditional gender roles to a disappointing degree, Ferry’s joyful, plucky words practically guarantee exciting storytimes. Bolstered by Kuefler’s smooth, colorfully sparse pictures, Neander and Neanne’s story—a mini-saga between two bushy-haired, light-skinned prehistoric children—delivers belly laughs amid mild twists and enormous fun.

From CRUSH to AWW. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3656-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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