While it may not be that easy being green, this book mixes the sweet and the serious in a ribbitting read.

LIFE ACCORDING TO OG THE FROG

From the According to Og the Frog series , Vol. 1

Move over, rodent. There’s a new class pet in town.

In this companion novel to Birney’s Friendship According to Humphrey (2005) and its many sequels, readers see the beloved hamster from an amphibian’s perspective. Until he was captured from his pond, Og the frog was a pretty average fellow. Now he’s a class pet in Mrs. Brisbane’s room, second only to Humphrey himself, with all his basic needs taken care of. But “it’s a lot smaller than the swamp,” and this new life takes some adjustment. Following Humphrey’s lead, he finds ways to give the kids in the room some gentle help and guidance. Yet just when Og’s settling in, there’s talk of returning him to the wild once more. Would it be kindness or cruelty to send Og back into nature? And does he even know which one he’d prefer? Though writing with her customarily light touch, Birney gives serious thought to the plight of pets caught in the wild, giving voice to every side and debating the most humane response. Og’s miscommunications with Humphrey provide ample comic relief, as do the frog’s songs, which he launches into with gusto.

While it may not be that easy being green, this book mixes the sweet and the serious in a ribbitting read. (Fiction 7-11)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3994-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves.

SCAREDY CAT

Two shelter cats take on a mysterious puss with weird powers who is terrorizing the feline community.

Hardly have timorous (and aptly named) Poop and her sophisticated buddy, Pasha, been brought home by their new “human beans” for a two-week trial than they are accosted by fiery-eyed Scaredy Cat, utterly trashing the kitchen with a click of his claws and, hissing that he’s in charge of the neighborhood, threatening that if they don’t act like proper cats—disdaining ordinary cat food and any summons (they are not dogs, after all), clawing the furniture instead of the scratching post, and showing like “cattitude”—it’ll be back to the shelter for them. Will Poop and Pasha prove to be fraidycats or flee to the cowed clowder of homeless cats hiding from the bully in the nearby woods? Nope, they are made of sterner stuff and resolutely set out to enlist feline allies in a “quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of purrs!” Cast into a gazillion very short chapters related by furry narrators Poop and Pasha, who are helpfully depicted in portrait vignettes by Herzog at each chapter’s head, the ensuing adventures test the defiant kitties’ courage (and, in some cases, attention spans) on the way to a spooky but poignant climax set, appropriately enough as it happens, in a pet graveyard.

A-mew-sing fare for readers who sometimes feel like fraidycats themselves. (Adventure. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49443-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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